Most everyone is familiar with instant coffee. Just add water and your coffee is ready to drink. You can find instant tea, hot chocolate, milk, and fruit-flavored drinks. But instant alcohol? Yes, by just adding water you can have an alcoholic beverage ready to drink instantly. The product is called Palcohol.
Palcohol: Not the first Powdered Alcohol
According to an article in the Smithsonian Magazine, the technology for powdered alcohol has been used since the 1970s when encapsulated alcohol was being sold by Japan’s Sato Foods Industries as an additive in food processing. Throughout the following decades, companies in the United States, the Netherlands, and Germany tried to bring to market an alcohol powder but none were successful until 2014 when Lipsmark LLC, founded by Mark Philips, the inventor of Palcohol, received approval for the packaging of his product by the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).
How is Powdered Alcohol Made?
Powdered alcohol, also called dry alcohol or crystalline alcohol, is made by using a complicated chemical process called microencapsulation. First, sugars are mixed with alcoholic beverages until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the sugars to create capsules of powdered alcohol. The powder is re-hydrated when it is mixed with water, resulting in an alcoholic drink.
How Do You Use Powdered Alcohol?
Packaged in one-ounce packets, the powdered alcohol is mixed with 6 ounces of water, soda, or juice. The result is an instant alcoholic drink. The alcohol content of one packet is equivalent to the alcohol in one shot.
Is Palcohol Legal?
The legal status of Palcohol, which is a brand name for powdered alcohol, varies by country and even within different states or regions of some countries. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the regulatory status of Palcohol was a subject of debate and change in many places. Here are some key points to consider regarding the legality of Palcohol:
United States: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) approved several Palcohol product labels in 2015, which was initially seen as an indication of its legality. However, the regulatory status of powdered alcohol has been subject to changes at both the federal and state levels. As of 2021, several U.S. states had banned or restricted the sale of powdered alcohol, while others allowed its sale with certain restrictions. State laws and regulations regarding Palcohol can differ significantly.
- Regulatory Challenges: Palcohol has faced regulatory challenges related to concerns about misuse, underage access, and the potential for sneaking alcohol into venues or events. These concerns have influenced the legal status of the product in various jurisdictions.
- State and Local Laws: In the United States, the legality of Palcohol can also depend on state and local laws. Even within states where it is allowed, local ordinances may further regulate its sale and consumption.
What Are the Dangers of Powdered Alcohol?
There are many potential risks, concerns, and dangers associated with powdered alcohol.
- One of the main health concerns regarding powdered alcohol users is snorting the substance. Snorting would cause the user to have an intense burning feeling in their nasal cavity. Others may experiment with injecting or ingesting the powder in various ways which are more dangerous than drinking.
- When an intoxicating substance is made in a way that it is easy to carry and conceal it becomes much easier to smuggle into public and private events, parties, and other venues, increasing the possibility of drink-spiking and public drunkenness.
- Since it is easy to hide, young people could bring it into school or other places, increasing the potential for underage drinking.
- There is some concern that powdered alcohol could be added to someone’s food or drink without them knowing it. It could also be added to an alcoholic beverage increasing the drink’s alcohol level without the person’s knowledge.
- It is hard to track the amount of alcohol ingested, especially if the person is also drinking traditional alcoholic drinks, which could lead to an overconsumption of alcohol.
- If a person does not fully understand powdered alcohol and ingests an excessive amount by mixing it with their food, the result could be alcohol poisoning.
- If a person mixes powdered alcohol with other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or marijuana, they are at risk of alcohol poisoning or overdose.
- When things come in packets, people are generally less careful about storing them safely which leads to the possibility of young children or toddlers finding the packet, opening it, and ingesting the contents.
- The novelty and fun flavors of powdered alcohol make it appealing to those under the legal drinking age.
- Since powdered substances are more potent and highly concentrated than their liquid counterparts, there is a greater risk of overuse and overdose.
Help is Available
If you or someone you know has an addiction to alcohol or drugs, getting the correct help is essential for living a sober, healthy life. English Mountain Recovery, located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, provides life-changing care to people with substance use disorders.
About the Author:
Terry Hurley is a retired educational professional and freelance writer with more than fifty years of experience. A former reading specialist and learning center director, Terry loved her years working with children in the educational field. She has written extensively for print and online publications specializing in education and health issues. For the last six years, her writing focus has been on addiction and mental health issues.