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."
Patent lawyer Daniel Christopherson, writing for the Bevlog beverage blog, has speculated that the company will not be given exclusive rights of the production of powdered alcohol: "My expectation is that the patentability of Palcohol is very narrow and a patent will not be effective at keeping competitors at bay."
He points out that powdered alcohol is not a new concept, with similar products already sold in countries like Japan and Germany. Alcohol as a powder has even been sold in the US and has been the subject of several US patents.
Zachary Davies Boren