Meet the Man Who Brought Powdered Alcohol to America

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips Photo: Palcohol

The world already has insta-beer and craft insta-beer — several companies around the world already make just-add-water alcoholic refreshers — but now, apparently, some guy who really enjoys “hiking, biking, camping, kayaking,” and then some has invented a powdered form of high-proof alcoholic drinks, packets of which have allegedly mustered initial regulatory approval. How sweet.

Phillips, his website says, has had "more than 80" jobs in his life, including a stint as an owner of a limo company and as a wine educator with a so-called "Progressive Approach." Here he is, demonstrating how to save leftover wine from spoiling by storing it in an old-fashioned plastic water bottle:

The stated purpose of Palcohol, first reported by Lehrman Beverage Law, is to create a very portable cocktail that can get into places like stadiums — adding five ounces of water will give the customer a “standard mixed drink.” (An earlier version of the product’s website, since scrubbed because it was in “draft mode,” said, “Yes, you can snort it. And you’ll get drunk almost instantly because the alcohol will be absorbed so quickly in your nose.”) The assortment of sucralose-sweetened “flavors” in development includes everything from Cosmopolitans to Lemon Drops.

Regulation aside, how is this awesome and fearful idea going to play out in real life? The “leaked” preliminary packaging of Palcohol indicates it is 58 percent alcohol by weight, 12 percent by volume. Packets weigh “about an ounce,” and that’s where the math starts oxidizing: Ethanol, at least at room temperature, is a liquid. All of this is to say that despite the buzz over Palcohol and the vague claim it was developed “with the help of scientists” so that the mixed product is “equal to a standard mixed drink,” all indications are — for now, anyhow — that each packet would have to be more than a little underproofed (compared to your average rum or vodka) in order to stay stable in powdered form. We’re apparently headed for a brave new world of Palcohol no mater what, but purists, also people who just like drinking, may be better off just sticking with a flask. Or at least an old-fashioned plastic water bottle.

Powdered Alcohol
Palcohol [Official site]

Meet the Man Who Brought Powdered Alcohol to America