What is Palcohol?

Powdered alcohol has been in the news for the past couple of days, but it is not a new breakthrough.  Chemists have known how to powderize alcohol for about 40 years.  Ethanol, a volatile liquid, can be absorbed by a carbohydrate type molecule called a cyclodextrin.


A company called Lipsmark has been in the news this week for trying to introduce a powdered alcohol product to the U.S. market.  Earlier in April 2014, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) announced an initial approval of the Palcohol label, but withdrew the approval on April 21.  Lipsmark seems to think the withdrawal is only a temporary setback.

Powdered alcohol is already in use in some European countries and Japan, but Palcohol must meet federal government approval in the U.S. Each state that has laws regulating the sale of alcohol will have an opportunity to regulate this product, which will likely be classified the same as an alcoholic beverage.

Lipsmark touts the powdered alcohol as a benefit to people who do not want to transport the relatively heavy weight of traditional alcoholic beverages.  The powder can be mixed with a liquid mixer or just water to become a margarita, mojito or some other favorite beverages.  The company also touts the powder as being a great way to add “kick” to various food dishes.

Lipsmark does not recommend the snorting of Palcohol powder.  They commented that half a cup of the powder only equates to about one drink.

Palcohol obviously will have the same intoxicating effects of liquid alcoholic beverages.  Since the powder is not in the normal form and quantities consumed by experienced drinkers, it may be difficult for people to gauge intake of the drug in order to predict the intoxicating effects.  This will no doubt become an issue in Driving While Intoxicated charges and other criminal charges commonly related to alcohol consumption.  The best DWI attorneys in Houston and Texas overall will want to become familiar with the legal and scientific considerations associated with this new form of alcohol in order to secure dismissals for DWI and other related charges.

Obviously, the sale of Palcohol will have the same age requirements that currently apply to the sale of alcoholic beverages.  If you have an issue or question  regarding Palcohol and how this powered alcohol may affect you legally, contact an attorney you trust for advice.

How Can Palcohol Affect an Ignition Interlock Device?

Powdered alcohol will have the same effects on an breath alcohol interlock as drinking alcohol.  Once the alcohol is in a person’s blood stream, the alcohol will partition into the breath inside the lungs exactly like when alcohol is consumed through drinking.  This will also apply to police breath tests.  The alcohol level in a person’s blood will be detected in the exhaled breath, even if the powdered alcohol is introduced in another way besides drinking.