Health Officials Raise Concerns Over “Palcohol”

The National Institutes of Health weighed in on the product, as more states contemplate saying no to powdered alcohol

Though it is still not on store shelves, powdered alcohol continues to make headlines.

NBC 5 Investigates first reported on “Palcohol” last spring as several states were lining up against it, including Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio and New York. It has already been banned in Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Vermont and Delaware. No word yet on any plans here in Illinois.

On Wednesday, The National Institutes of Health weighed in, as more states contemplate saying no to powdered alcohol.

"The biggest concern consumers should have is there is no regulation of this product," said George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which is a part of the NIH. "It’s a delivery system we don’t know anything about. We fear it will be made available to people who should not be consuming alcohol."

Palcohol comes in a pouch with a serving size equal to one shot of liquor. Back in April, the product hit its first buzzkill when the Department of Treasury yanked approval for the product’s label saying it was in error. A social media storm followed, with mixed sentiment from consumers.

Company owner Mark Phillips may have hurt his own cause when early marketing versions of Palcohol reportedly used lingo suggesting, among other things, that sporting events fans slip some Palcohol into their pocket to avoid paying for high-priced liquor at stadiums. And touted ideas that included sprinkling Palcohol on eggs in the morning to – quote – “start your day off right.”

The makers of Palcohol are all in on this fight, expressing “disappointment” that no state enacting a ban has ever asked the company to testify of explain the product. Parent company Lipsmark blames legislators and the media for adding to confusion surrounding Palcohol, which they say will be available by Spring of next year.

Editor’s note: After this report aired, Palcohol creator Mark Phillips reached out to NBC5 indicating, among other things, that he felt our description of the product’s early marketing was inaccurate. The actual website is no longer available, but he provided us with what he says is the wording from the original site. He notes the suggestions included that, before one brings powdered alcohol into any venue, to check with the venue first to make sure it’s allowed. “Nothing on the site ever suggested that someone sneak, slip, conceal or in anyway try to skirt the law,” Phillips wrote to NBC5.

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