Powdered Alcohol Draws Cheers and Jeers

With the summer release of Palcohol—better known as powdered alcohol, which, when water or another liquid is added, becomes vodka, rum, etc.—government officials are anxious about whether costs outweigh benefits for the substance. The creator, Mark Phillips, an outdoors lover, devised the powder as a lighter and more compact option for people to enjoy a drink after an hourslong adventure. Worried it could get in the wrong hands, Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont have preemptively banned the substance, and others are considering similar legislation.

Palcohol developers say the deconstructed drinks are only as dangerous as their liquid counterparts, and can benefit several industries. Phillips notes the hospitality industry could save millions on fuel costs. One hotel in Hawaii is interested because it could save on shipping alcohol from the continental United States. Another application is for airline travelers: The powder can be lawfully carried at a fraction of the weight and space of the liquid. For planners, the product could be used as lightweight swag for international attendees, or in F&B (one ice cream company wants to use the substance for an adults-only flavor).

Palcohol will be available at liquor stores this summer at four times the cost of regular alcohol, a fact that could deter the worry of abusers obtaining the powder for unintended use.