Palcohol fired up with fighting talk as it faces prospect of state bans

'Unfounded speculation is no basis to outlaw a product:' Palcohol announces TTB approval but battle rumbles on

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Palcohol can be used to make alcoholic drinks (stock image)
Palcohol can be used to make alcoholic drinks (stock image)

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

Palcohol – the powdered alcohol that's sparked furious US debate over the last year – says it has been given the green light by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

It can now be legally sold in the US, although the product still faces substantial challenges as individual states can regulate alcohol sales.

Palcohol has kept its invention under wraps (no samples will be made the available before its launch this summer). Welcoming the TTB approval, it hit back at sceptics for criticising a product they haven’t tried, saying bans should not be made on the basis of "unfounded speculation".

In particular, it accuses the liquor industry of trying to squash competition.

'We’re big boys and girls' - Palcohol

Powder-based Palcohol can be dissolved in liquids such as water to create an alcoholic drink. The brand is working on putting its production facility into operation, and intends to make the product available this summer.

Palcohol hit the headlines last year when it initially received approval from the TTB, but the bureau backtracked and said it had been granted in error.

Following its approval this week, the company says Palcohol is no different to standard alcohol and re-iterates its opposition to any bans.

Many states are moving to ban powdered alcohol. Why? Because the liquor industry is against it and they want to squash competition and protect their market share,” ​it says in a statement.

“The liquor companies have lots of money to lobby for what they want and we are no match for their deep pockets. But should big money be allowed to make the laws? 

“We're big boys and girls and can decide for ourselves if we want to use alcohol....because that's all Palcohol is....liquid alcohol in powder form.”

Palcohol slams negative media coverage

Palcohol was created by outdoor enthusiast Mark Phillips, who was looking for a way to carry alcoholic beverages without heavy, clunky bottles. He founded the brand’s company, Lipsmark LLC, and created powdered alcohol – a light and compact product.

But the invention soon sparked controversy. Critics say it will make it easier for people to consume high volumes of alcohol, help them sneak it into venues, make it easier for children to abuse the substance, fear that it could be snorted, or used to spike drink or food.     

“Since the product isn’t even on the market yet, there is not one shred of evidence that it will be used or abused any differently than liquid alcohol. Every concern we’ve heard is unfounded speculation and that is no basis to outlaw a product,” ​Palcohol continues.

“The two federal agencies that have jurisdiction over alcohol, the FDA and the TTB, have reviewed Palcohol and tested it and found no problems with allowing it to go forward to be approved for sale.

“Unfortunately, the media coverage has focused on the perceived negative aspects of powdered alcohol as a result of ignorance about the product. Remember, no one has ever tried Palcohol so all the criticisms are just speculation. We believe that powdered alcohol is actually safer than liquid alcohol.”

It comments that powdered alcohol would be painful and impractical to snort, and that the same age restrictions would apply to selling the product as to standard alcohol drinks. 

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1 comment

FDA posts statement on Palcohol

Posted by Siobhan DeLancey,

The FDA is aware of inaccurate reports that the FDA has approved this product. To clarify, our evaluation focused solely on the non-alcohol ingredients added to the alcohol beverage versions of this product. We did not provide an approval, nor did we conduct any testing.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has the authority to review the formulation and labeling of distilled spirits products. TTB has consulted with the FDA with respect to the ingredients used in “Palcohol.” Consistent with the FDA’s authority, the agency evaluated the regulatory status of the non-alcohol ingredients added to these products. The FDA concluded that the use of ingredients in the proposed products was in compliance with FDA’s regulations. The agency notes that the ingredients used in the products are typical of ingredients found in many processed foods. The FDA does not have concerns that the ingredients, when added to the alcoholic beverage products, render the products adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. As is the case of any multi-ingredient food product, the FDA may take further actions under its statutory authority if warranted by information it might acquire in the future about the product. However, at this time the FDA does not have a legal basis to block market entry of this product.

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