Gotta Pass on this Instant Breakfast, Palcohol
Well here’s a new product destined to send a few of those wacky college kids to the emergency room. Coming this fall to a liquor store near you is palcohol – liquor in powdered form! Just add water or other liquid and you’re good to go! Worried about teachers, parents or spouses? This is perfect for alcoholics who need to stash their stuff. Boss breathing down your neck? Sneak some into your morning coffee and mellow (or tune) out the static. Boredom? Sprinkle some on your boss or unsuspecting co-worker’s lunch. That ought to generate some adventurous interaction! Think of all the possibilities!
This product is not exactly new – similar products have been used in Japan and Germany. And according to patent lawyer Daniel Christopherson, in an article in The Telegraph, powdered alcohol has actually been sold in the U.S. and has been the subject of “several U.S. patents.”
So maybe it’s the marketing that creator, Mark Phillips, has already started that will make this the next new fad in dorms and at sporting events. Lipsmark is the private company that owns the product. Unfortunately, some of Philip’s (or Lipsmark’s) marketing strategies slipped out when the incomplete website, with it’s possible labels and rough drafts, was accessed prematurely. Phillips had to print the disclaimer on his currently corrected site and the tact he will use is a bit different than what originally slipped through. The ‘corrected’ site states, “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.”
Sounds responsible enough. Um…
The amusing stuff was all deleted from the official website once it was up and running… or up and noticed, anyway. It could be construed as a tad more controversial than what I read. Telegraph writer Zachary Davies Boren shared what he read on the original site, on which the product was pitched as a solution to the “ever-escalating cost of liquid alcohol.” Boren quoted thusly from the site:
“What’s worse than going to a concert, sporting event, etc. and having to pay $10, $15, $20 for a mixed drink and tax and tip? Are you kidding me?! Take Palcohol into the venue and enjoy a mixed drink for a fraction of the cost.
“Sprinkle Palcohol on almost any dish and give it an extra kick. Some of our favorites are the Kamikaze in guacamole, rum on a barbecue sandwich, cosmo on a salad and vodka on eggs in the in the morning to start your day off right. Experiment.”
Guess you could start your day off that way. Again, this alcoholic writer wishes it had been around when I was bottoming out. Can you say “hair of the dog” in a shaker? My mind is having a heyday with all the sneaky possibilities this product could bring. Better not to list them, though. Don’t want to give any ideas that haven’t already been thought of…
But back to describing this new wonder. On the “real” revised site, Phillips started with:
“We are excited by the approval of our powdered alcohol product, Palcohol. However, we were caught off guard with the release of some of our labels by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (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 the earlier version of this site.”
He then went into 10 frequently asked questions and an invitation to follow the product on Facebook and Twitter. He has a clever catch phrase – “Take your Pal wherever you go” – then added “please drink responsibly and legally. Don’t consume Palcohol and drive.”
Sort of an oxymoron together in a paragraph that way. But the moron part may be operational. There’s a lot of potential for a moron to use this product in all sorts of ways…
Phillips says a need exists because liquid alcohol isn’t “convenient.” He tells us that Palcohol is ‘light.’ I translate that as easy to hide and use in all sorts of troublesome ways. Phillips claims mixed with 5 oz. of water or other mix, his Palcohol is equivalent to an average cocktail and will come in six flavors – some just booze, others cocktail mixes like the cosmo and kamikaze. It will be sold in liquor stores and only to those of legal drinking age. But he adds that it will also be sold online. He glosses over the food in the revised website, but does remind users to add it after cooking so the alcohol content won’t be cooked away.
He even mentions comments by those interested in snorting it. He calls those curious “goofballs” and advises them to use the product “responsibly.”
I guess there are those who will do just that, but then again, those who drink responsibly don’t need a light, convenient, easy to hide and transport type of alcohol. They just have a cocktail or two at an appropriate time and at an appropriate place. I don’t think they’re even thinking of ways to covertly conceal what they plan on drinking. And I’m sure sporting venues won’t be thrilled with this particular marketing approach – it’s sorta like sneaking your own popcorn into a theater. I think weight would only apply if you’re looking at carrying a significant amount; how much does a can of beer weigh? The same amount as the mix you have to bring to drink the stuff, I would guess, unless you just want to dump the powder on your tongue!
Not so funny. I’m sure that many will do just that. And therein lies the scary part of this product. Not only does it give our nation’s alcoholics and problem drinkers fuel to flame their problem, it also opens our nation’s young to another scary option when trying to outdo each other in getting wasted as fast as possible. Just like those other drinking practices designed to circumvent the digestive track to make it straight to the bloodstream, the risk of alcohol poisoning is greatly increased, and people do die. Of course some joker will want to pour packets of the powder down his throat. The body’s natural ways of eliminating too much poison (the ethanol), like vomiting or passing will be bypassed. Kids will die. Some will try and snort it. Grade school kids can have a heyday! Of course we want an easier way to sneak alcohol virtually anywhere on anything! Long as someone can cash in on it, who cares about the implications and social responsibility in general?
The implications of how Palcohol is presented by it’s creator and his concern with responsible use is thin at best. Let’s hope one of Phillips’ kids isn’t the one to dose the other fifth-graders at lunch, or the one who doesn’t make it out of the frat party alive. Palcohol can now give predators a new way to legally get a date so hammered she won’t know what happened to her…
The ways this product can be misused are many. It’s a sad statement of our time that finding new ways to get higher and higher faster are always in the works. And just like bubblegum flavored e-cigs are obviously targeted to the young and suggestible who are out there experimenting, this product, too, is aimed in that direction. The best one can do is hope they’ve educated their children about the dangers of substance abuse and excess partying before they go out into the world and are exposed to things like this.
Palcohol was to be on the market by Fall, but just days ago it was announced on Channel 9 News that a legal snafu will make that doubtful. The TTB has reversed their approval over a discrepancy about how much powder the packets contain. Lipsmark plans to resubmit the product.
The opinions expressed in this piece are the writer’s only, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Interventions Services and it’s employees.
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