“Imagine a Margarita on a counter. And then imagine if you could snap your fingers and it would turn into powder. That's Palcohol....without the magic.”
That’s how the company behind the powdered alcohol, which turns water into rum, vodka, margaritas and more describes its new product, Palcohol. Mark Phillips is the man behind the new pouched-alcohol and according to a company spokesperson, thought up the idea while hiking and wanting to enjoy a cocktail, without lugging heavy liquid in containers.
Earlier this month, news of the product’s federal approval spread like wildfire on the internet and social media sites, only to be quickly followed by news that approval was given in “error.”
Lawmakers across the country were quick to take a stance on the product while the news media covered the potential dangers and concerns surrounding Palcohol.
So, with a federal approval and then a surrendered approval, will Palcohol ever make it to a store shelf near you?
The answer is maybe. The answer is possibly. The answer could be no. E.W. Scripps reporters talked to beverage experts across the country to find out the likelihood of people across the country turning water into their favorite alcoholic drink.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), regulates beer, wine and spirit labeling, formulation, packaging and taxation. In order for Palcohol to hit store shelves in the U.S., it would have to receive several different approvals from TTB, not the FDA, as has been reported in some online articles.
TTB is under the Department of the Treasury. The bureau develops regulations ensuring tax and trade compliance with the Federal Alcohol Administration Act and the Internal Revenue Code.
According to Robert Lehrman, an attorney at Lehrman Beverage Law, PLLC, the first step the company behind Palcohol would have to complete is obtaining a distillery license. This typically takes six months, around 100 pieces of paper and a background check. The company behind Palcohol has completed this step.
The next step is to receive formula approval.
“Anything that is funky or unusual needs formula approval,” Lehrman said. “It’s about classification. Is it vodka or is it like vodka?” For this, companies usually need to provide recipe and ingredient lists, he said. Lehrman concentrates on the federal regulation of alcohol beverages.
Phillips has received seven different formula approvals from the federal government: Powderita, Cosmopolitan, Lemon Drop, V (vodka), R (rum), R, V.