Take A Powder With Pocket Booze



SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


            Every now and then a concept just makes me stop and gape in amazement. The designated hitter, Joe Biden as Vice-President, a transistor radio you can listen to in the shower …

Mostly terrible ideas. Ever try to dance “Thriller” in the shower? Better have an anti-slip mat.

            But this one, which struck me as both a great and terrible idea, seemed even more amazing:

            Powdered alcohol.

            Party in your water bottle.

            Apparently this isn’t a new idea, but it was new to me. Everyone who remembers surfing the internet for the first time understands how that goes. Back in the 70’s the General Foods Corp. filed a patent for powdered alcohol, which they made by absorbing ethanol into carbohydrate powder.

            “But isn’t too much carbohydrate bad for you?” Seriously, that’s your only health concern with this?

            This time around a fellow named Mark Phillips decided having a bag of powdered alcohol with you at all times would be a good idea, and came up with something he called Palcohol. I could do a column just on that name. Phillips, who describes himself as an “active guy”, wanted to have some fast booze dust available, to wind down after a hard day of hiking, biking, or camping.

            Heaven forbid such activities would call for Gatorade.

            But I know many people who are incapable of calling a day fun unless they top it off with the alcoholic beverage of their choice, so I understand where Phillips is coming from. He developed six varieties of powdered alcohol: vodka, rum, and four cocktails. Those last are Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Powderita (!) and Lemon Drop, and shouldn’t that choice satisfy any extreme sports fan?

            So what did they miss? Well, what would many people want to hold under a garden hose after, say, wrecking cars, blowing up outhouses, or shooting stop signs? That’s right: Beer. You’d think that would be the easy one—don’t they actually make it with carbohydrates?

            So I hit Google, and sure enough: powdered beer. The Beer Street Journal (no, that’s not a typo), says the Alaskan company Pat’s Backcountry Beverages has created a waterless beer that has flavor, aroma, and alcohol, and even bubbles thanks to a carbonator bottle.

            Again, just to be clear: Not making this up.

            But over with the highbrow booze, Phillips ran into trouble. The Federal Government—you know they’d show up in this tale—supposedly gave label approval to the dry idea, but then said the approvals were issued in error. In a cloud of dust, the ability to fill your pocket with vodka disappeared. Well, you could still do it, but you’re in trouble if the plastic bag breaks.

            The strange thing about this is that a product like Palcohol would have gone through an extensive permit process before ever getting to the label approval stage. This was noted by Robert Lehrman, who runs a beverage law website and reported on the idea of an extra-dry martini. Shaken, not blown.

            Yes, a beverage law website. Surely you’re not surprise?

            Lehrman thought this approval, followed by a rapid disproval, didn’t ring true. He figured some lawmakers wanted more information before proceeding with the approval.

            Some people are blaming Big Liquor for the delay. (I’ll let you insert your own joke, there.) I think the lawmakers did the same thing I did: They saw “powdered alcohol”, stopped in their campaigning tracks, and said, “Wha—? We need to check this out.”

            So now we await the chance to always have a bag of booze in our hats, hidden in our boots, or mixed with our Metamucil. Yeah, someday soon grandpa will be much happier about his diet.

            I’m of mixed feelings about this, and on a related note, do the powder packets come with little mixing sticks? And are the sticks hollow, so you can drink through them? On the one hand, I don’t see how this will be abused any more than liquid alcohol will, although it may make things easier. Any place that doesn’t allow alcohol, but does allow soft drinks, will find imbibers experimenting with a whole new taste sensation.

            “How did you like the movie, honey?”

            “Bweaugh …. Blaaaagh!”

            “So Quentin Tarintino makes you sick, too?”

            But I suppose if somebody really wants to act stupid and make dumb comments in public, they’ll either carry one of those little flasks of liquid or run for Congress. My bigger concern (and this doesn’t apply to Congress) is not how they’ll harm others, but how they’ll harm themselves.

            The best example: The product’s website warns people that the alcohol powder should not be snorted.

            Great. Tell people who can’t wait to drink not to do something stupid.

12 comments:

  1. Like sucking liquid beer thru a straw.

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    1. Personally, I hate beer -- straw or not!

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  2. Now if I could buy powdered fish and chips that would be really worth googling for.

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    1. I'm not sure rehydrating that would go well.

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  3. Nonsense, they just realized they forgot to stick a high liquor tax on powder. If it is "approved" again, it will be taxed like the other liquid potables. Of course, when we went camping (long, long ago), Lanny always had his beer and whiskey along. No one dared touch it until evening. He was known to knock a can of beer out of a person's hand if they were drinking before hunting.

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    1. I think a severe reaction to drinking before hunting is appropriate!

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  4. Just wait: someone will mix it in with cocaine, and thus snort palcohcaine.

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  5. Good thing you mention that disclaimer about not snorting it since California's got a water shortage--anything is possible.

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  6. omg, now I've heard of everything - until your next post. I can think of a lot of people who'd like these products. "I haven't been drinking occifer. See? No alcohol on me." "Then why are you wavering?" "Must be the wind."

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