Coming To A Store Near You: Powdered Alcohol


Thanks to a recent decision by the relevant Federal agency, Americans will soon be able to buy powdered alcohol:

American drinkers could find themselves sprinkling their favourite beverage rather than pouring it, as powdered alcohol brand ‘Palcohol’ is now fully approved by the US government.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau this week signed off on seven versions of Palcohol, including Margarita and Cosmopolitan flavours, which will be made available in autumn of this year.

The company’s website, which has been changed since approval from the TTB, pitched the product as a solution to the ever-escalating cost of liquid alcohol.

“What’s worse than going to a concert, sporting event, etc. and having to pay $10, $15, $20 for a mixed drink with tax and tip. Are you kidding me?! Take Palcohol into the venue and enjoy a mixed drink for a fraction of the cost,” the product’s promotional material read.

The site also suggested that users add Palcohol to their food: “Sprinkle Palcohol on almost any dish and give it an extra kick. Some of our favourites are the Kamikaze in guacamole, Rum on a BBQ sandwich, Cosmo on a salad and Vodka on eggs in the morning to start your day off right. Experiment.

Remember, you have to add Palcohol AFTER a dish is cooked as the alcohol will burn off if you cook with it… and that defeats the whole purpose.”

Perhaps recognising that such a marketing strategy risked causing controversy, and even possible legal issues, Palcohol has removed the copy and issued a clarification: “We were caught off guard with the release of some of our labels by the TTB. As a result, people visited this website that we thought was under the radar because we had not made a formal announcement of Palcohol.

“Clearly, this site isn’t finished. Thus, the verbiage that was copied was still in draft mode and the labels that were up were incorrect. So please disregard what is being printed as a result of information taken from this site.

“What we can say now is that we hope the product will be used in a responsible and legal manner. Being in compliance with all Federal and State laws is very important to us. Palcohol will only be sold through establishments that are licensed to sell liquor.”

Since alcohol remains heavily regulated at the state level, this doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone in the United States will soon be able to put powdered alcohol on their morning pancakes. Some states may attempt to bar the product from being sold at all, for example. At the very least, even with the restriction that this could only be sold in liquor stores (which in Virginia at least would mean only in state run stores), it seems like there’s a huge potential for abuse here both by adults and by those under the age of 21.

As for me, I can’t say that I find anything about this product appealing, and I’m not at all sure what I’d use it for.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. mantis says:

    So astronauts can finally get plastered!

  2. It would be great for backpacking trips–save weight by packing in powdered booze.

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Stress N. Strain:

    Yup, outings and cooking. Those were my first thoughts and, really, the only reason I think I would use this.

    Call me crazy, but I like alcohol because I like alcohol. Why would I want an adult pixy stick when I could have a Manhattan?

  4. legion says:

    People will snort it, and/or just eat a handful of it, and die from alcohol poisoning. Within days. Guaranteed. Most likely a college student first.

  5. @Neil Hudelson: It could be good for sneaking onto planes too, since they always want you to buy their alcohol instead of bringing your own. Much easier to mask than a tiny bottle of booze up your sleeve.

  6. Grewgills says:

    If this were available when I was in college we wouldn’t have had to carry ziplock bags full of booze in our shorts.*

    * I went to an officially dry land grant university, so no alcohol was sold in games and I wasn’t yet 21 so…

  7. James says:

    Finally, my fallout shelter will be complete

  8. grumpy realist says:

    I’m still scratching my head over the chemistry of all of this. Alcohol (with or without the bells and whistles that give it flavour) still has a determined chemical formula and I don’t understand how you get it “dry” simply by saying so. Absinthe has even higher percentages of alcohol (74%) and it certainly isn’t “dry”. So the rest of the goop in there must be some sort of encapsulating material–probably either fatty acids or starches. Which is fine if you want to sprinkle it on to food during cooking to provide a flavour, but methinks that reconstituting your liquor from the “dry” form to the “wet” form will not produce what you would call a decent drink.

    Or maybe they’re harnessing the placebo effect and using “dry” in a totally different sense….

  9. MarkedMan says:

    I’m with Grumpy. Alcohol is a liquid. What kind of encapsulation are they using that won’t dissolve in alcohol but will dissolve in stomach acid? Water?

  10. MarkedMan says:

    OK, here’s a little more info. I don’t vouch for any of this, I just thought it sounded plausible and copied it from the internet. Wow. I can’t believe I just typed that…

    The ethanol is encapsulated in cyclodextrin— rings of glucose. Hence, add the stuff to water— or just get it damp, really— and you get a solution of ethanol and glucose in water.

  11. Grewgills says:

    Looks like the powdered alcohol has hit a little hiccup.

  12. Vast Variety says:

    This is about as dumb as those electronic cigarettes.

  13. Slugger says:

    I went fishing yesterday. It was a cold, drizzly day. When I got home I had a glass of single malt; just a wee dram of course. I say no (or is it ‘nae’) to powders!

  14. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: so alcohols and sugars. I can see why they’re only planning to do this for sugary cocktails.

    Great–that’s what the US will be known for: powdered Green Chartreuse….

    (he who messes with my Laphraoig will have to pry the bottle from my cold, dead hands…..)