AP: Approval for powdered alcohol developed in AZ 'issued in error'
Mark Phillips of Phoenix developed Palcohol, or powdered alcohol. (Source: CBS 5 News)
A former alcoholic, Vera Martz says Palcohol is a disaster waiting to happen. (Source: CBS 5 News)
A cached version of Palcohol's website (Palcohol.com)
PHOENIX (CBS5/AP) -
A new product makes booze more discreet, and its developers say it's more effective than its liquid counterparts, but federal regulators say it's not ready for store shelves just yet.
Palcohol, or powdered alcohol, developer Phoenix resident Mark Phillips told CBS 5 News on Sunday that he is excited about the recent approval by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
But a representative for the federal bureau, Tom Hogue, said in an email to The Associated Press late Monday that the approvals were issued in error.
In an email message, Palcohol's parent company Lipsmark said, "There seemed to be a discrepancy on our fill level, how much powder is in the bag." It said it will resubmit the labels for approval.
The product transforms a shot of vodka or rum into a discreet pouch of powder. According to its labels, Palcohol can carry up to 65 percent alcohol by volume if used as directed.
"It's lightness and compactness provide the perfect solution for the sportsperson that can't be bogged down by weight and the traveler who wants to carry alcohol without having to worry about bottles breaking or significantly adding to the weight of the suitcase," Phillips said.
The label approved states,
"Sometimes liquid isn't convenient. Because Palcohol is powder, you can take it just about anywhere to enjoy a cocktail! That's why we say: Take your Pal wherever you go!"
A former alcoholic, Vera Martz, said Palcohol is a disaster waiting to happen.
"Alcohol is the worst drug there is," Martz said. "I can't believe anybody would even think about letting this come on the market. That's about as stupid as it gets."
Phillips, on the other hand, believes his product is convenient for the responsible drinker.
On an earlier version of Palcohol's website, it lures readers with the possibilities of Palcohol:
"1. 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.
"2. Maybe you're a college football fan. So many stadiums don't even serve alcohol. What's that about; watching football without drinking?! That's almost criminal. Bring Palcohol in and enjoy the game."
For Martz, the most shocking part was addressed further down the list of possible uses, past the Palcohol on food and spiking a drink on a nature hike:
"7. Let's talk about the elephant in the room ... snorting Palcohol. Yes, you can snort it. And you'll get drunk almost instantly because the alcohol will be absorbed so quickly in your nose. Good idea? No. It will mess you up. Use Palcohol responsibly."
Palcohol's website has since been toned down, stating, "There was a page visible on the site where we were experimenting with some humorous and edgy verbiage about Palcohol. It was not meant to be our final presentation of Palcohol."
The new website says Palcohol has taken precautions against snorting, adding volume to the powder so it would take more than a half of a cup of powder to get the equivalent of one drink up your nose.
Martz believes the door for abusing this product is left wide open.
"Now they want to throw this crap [on the market]?" She asks, "Hasn't [the alcohol industry] put enough out there?"
If approved, Palcohol would be available in powdered vodka, rum and four different cocktail flavors.
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates.
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Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.