A couple weeks back, the Internet went a bit nuts when it learned that federal regulators had given the green light to a powdered alcohol product called Palcohol. Then a backlash ensued, fueled in no small part by things mentioned on the product’s nascent website, and regulators quickly rescinded their approval while some called for a ban on the product. But in a recently released video, Palcohol’s creator attempts to show that this is much to do about very little.
In the powder-dry above video, which looks like it was shot on Betamax on the set of a 1984 public access talk show, Palcohol creator Mark Phillips addresses the each of the major concerns about powdered alcohol — that it could be snorted for an easy high; that it would make it easier to sneak booze into a theater or other venue; that it would make it easy to spike another person’s drink; and that children would have easy access to it.
YOU CAN SNORT IT, BUT DON’T
The Palcohol website had initially mentioned that one could snort the powdered alcohol, but Phillips claims that this and other statements on the site were an ill-advised attempt at “edgy” marketing on a site that wasn’t ready to be seen by the public. In reality, he says Palcohol isn’t just painful to snort; it’s also impractical.
“Because of the alcohol in powdered alcohol, snorting it is very painful,” says Phillips. “It burns — a lot!”
But would it be worth the quicker high? No, says Phillips.
“Palcohol is not some super-concentrated version of alcohol,” he explains in the video. “It’s simply one shot of alcohol in powdered form.”
So according to Phillips, it would take about one hour for someone to snort one shot’s worth of powder (though he doesn’t explain how he calculated that time frame).
He asks, “Why would anyone choose to spend an hour of pain and misery snorting all of this powder to get one drink in their system? When they could just — oh, I don’t know — drink a shot and accomplish the same thing? You won’t get drunk faster by snorting powdered alcohol, an you’ll go through a lot of pain.”
WHAT’S IN THE BIG FOIL BAG SIR?
Regarding claims that you could more easily sneak Palcohol into a movie theater or concert or boring work meeting, Phillips points to the 4″ x 6″ size of the resealable foil pouch.
“Powdered alcohol won’t make it easier to sneak alcohol into places because the bag is too big to conceal,” he explains, arguing that it would be much easier to sneak in airplane-size bottles of booze than it would a pouch of Palcohol.
Between the two options, Phillips say, “You’re not gonna choose Palcohol; the package is too big! Heck, you could sneak… four bottles in the same space as one packet of Palcohol.”
LOOK OVER THERE! (FOR THE NEXT MINUTE OR TWO)
As for the contention that one could more easily spike another person’s drink with Palcohol, Phillips points out that you need an entire pouch of the powder to equal one shot’s worth of booze, and that it does not miraculously dissolve instantaneously.
“It will take at least a minute of stirring for all the powder to dissolve,” he explains while stirring in a mess of Palcohol powder into a glass of ice water. “And because this drink is cold, it may even take a little bit longer.”
Phillips once again makes the comparison between what he maintains is Palcohol’s bulky, hard-to-hide pouch and tiny little bottles of alcohol.
“Why would someone try to carry one of these in [holding up Palcohol pouch] and spike someone’s drink when it takes so long to stir when you can do the same thing in three seconds?” he asks.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS?
The final concern is one that Phillips can’t really rebut with any form of demonstration. Instead, he just tries to clarify that Palcohol will only be available for purchase in the same stores you currently buy booze, and that it can’t legally be sold or given to anyone under the age of 21 in the U.S.