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Palcohol is a brand of powdered alcohol that turns into an alcoholic beverage when mixed with water. The product became the subject of controversy following its temporary approval by the United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in April 2014.
On March 31st, 1972, the General Foods Corporation applied for a patent for an “alcohol-containing powder,” which uses sugar-derived carbohydrate powder to encapsulate alcohol molecules. On September 14th, 2011, the Palcohol brand of alcohol powder launched its official website. On April 8th, 2014, the TTB approved seven versions of the Palcohol brand of powdered alcohol, including flavors in vodka, rum, kamikaze, cosmopolitan and lemon drop (shown below).
In 2007, Dutch students invented the powdered alcohol named Booz2Go, announcing they aimed to sell the product to those under the legal age for alcohol since it was not in liquid form.
On April 19th, The Telegraph reported on the TTB’s approval of Palcohol products. The same day, the article was submitted to the /r/news subreddit, where it received over 740 upvotes and 260 comments in the first four days. On April 21st, Redditor HeyPrimeMinista submitted a George Zimmer image macro about people snorting powdered alcohol to the /r/AdviceAnimals subreddit (shown below).
In the coming days, several news sites published articles about the approval controversy and the potential dangerous of alcohol powder, including Motherboard,Gawker,USA Today, Time and CBS News.
Revocation of TTB Approval
On April 21st, TTB representative Tom Hogue told the Associated Press that the Palcohol products had been approved by the bureau “in error” According to Palcohol’s parent company Lipsmark, there was a label discrepancy on how much powder was contained within the product bags and that they were resubmitting the labels for approval. The AP article also quoted beverage law expert Robert Lehrman, who speculated that the TTB had removed the approval due to pressure from lawmakers.