Recently, what is now known as “Palcohol” has been gaining quite a bit of news coverage and online attention. It was recently reported that the product has been approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. While the government branch did not immediately respond to requests for information, the parent manufacturing company of Palcohol, Lipsmark LLC, indicated that the powdered alcohol approval was reversed due to an apparent discrepancy in the packaging amounts of the product. The company indicates that they will resubmit the labels for approval.
The website for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, an agency that is included under the Treasury Department, indicates that there was label approval at the beginning of April on a number of different products, including rum and vodka varieties. However, the Tempe, Arizona-based company Lipsmark states that on April 21 they had been in contact with the bureau and had agreed to surrender approval of the labels. The founder of Palcohol, Mark Phillips, has been unavailable for comment. In an email from Tom Hogue, the director of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, there is an explanation that the approval was erroneously issued.
The powdered alcohol which had been approved for distribution before the decision was reversed is meant to be mixed with water. The packets contain powdered forms of different varieties of alcohol and cocktails. Apparently the labels contained a discrepancy between what was listed and the actual amount of powder in each packet. Each packet weighs only an ounce, which makes it more portable than liquid-containing bottles or flasks.
Critics of Palcohol contend that the packaged product could be dangerous. Originally, the website for the product offered suggestions as to where consumers might bring it. Some of the suggestions were to take Palcohol to concerts and college football games. The website also suggested that the product would make a good addition to food, even going as far as making food pairing recommendations such as eggs and vodka as a combination. The company has since removed these posts from their website and claim that they were only experimenting with marketing techniques and the pages should not have gone online publically. The statement released says that the marketing was not meant to be live and that they do not yet understand the possible dynamics of the powdered alcohol as a food additive.
Should the product regain approval, it will be treated the same as liquid alcohol. It will be subject to all federal and state regulations and only be available to consumers over the age of 21 – the same as regular bottled liquor. While the company has hopes of becoming the first United States manufacturer of non-liquid alcohol, there are products that are similar which are already available in the Netherlands and Japan, among other countries.
In the meantime, the company will be resubmitting their labels for approval and have removed some of the suggestion pages from their website. The company hopes that the decision to reverse the approval for their powdered alcohol product will go through another reversal process so they may begin manufacturing and distribution in the United States. Lipsmark would like to see Palcohol regain acceptance and approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
By Dee Mueller
on twitter @TuesdayDG