Powered Alcohol?

There is a new type of alcohol that might be coming out called Palcohol. I assume it is pronounced PAL kô-ˌhäl. It is alcohol in a powered form... I'll just let that sink in for a moment...

The idea is that you mix this powder with water the same way that people put sweetener in tea and POOF! You now have vodka, or rum, or what ever other flavors they or you mix up. It's not every day that I find something that makes me feel so torn. The purest/wine maker side of me is about 2 steps away from being that crazy guy down town wearing nothing but a “The End Is Neigh” sign. While the geek/nerd side of me is flooded with questions and ideas and dearly wants to know more.

 

The technical details about Palcohol are sparse at best. How it's made and how much alcohol it has seem a bit vague. Their website (palcohol.com) says that they aren't ready to disclose how it is made because they are seeking a patent. There are a few problems with this.

 

First, a provisional patent would be easy, cheap, and allow you to talk more freely about your idea. After all, that's the whole point of a provisional patent. If you are asking people consume something very strange or new, you should probably give them some idea of what's up.

 

Secondly, it's been done. US patent numbers US3795747 A, US3956511 A, and US3821433 A  by Gen Foods Corp were issued in the early 1970s. Patents only last 20 years so they have expired allowing anyone to use them.

 

Then, there is the alcohol content. Their site says Palcohol contains 10-12% alcohol by volume. It also says that you can mix Palcohol into 5 ounces of water and it will contain the same amount of alcohol as a mixed drink. Anyone with any knowledge of drink mixing should be making that confused puppy face right about now saying that math doesn't add up. What the site doesn't say is that while Palcohol around 12% alcohol by volume, it's about 60% alcohol by weight. Previously, alcohol percentage by weight or volume was a nominal difference, but that was back in the old days when alcohol was a liquid. Remember Palcohol is a powder, and powders are MUCH less dense than liquids. And now the math makes a bit more sense.

 

Chemical, patent, and alcohol issues aside, this does open the door to some interesting opportunities. The creator Mark Phillips says that this will make it much easier to take alcohol with you while hiking or camping. It will also make it easier to sneak, er..., bring alcohol into sporting or music events. But I suspect that it will be harder to bring palcohol onto a plane. Because if you thought the TSA got upset with your bottle of wine because it was over 3 oz, I can't wait to see how they react to a strange white powder you want to bring on to share with everyone. Palcohol could also be mixed with solid foods, like mixing the margarita powder into the guacamole. Although any good host should let guests know if the guacamole has booze in it or not. Just the phrase “hard guacamole” gives you some idea of how much this could change things.

 

Needless to say this stuff has not, is not, and never will be used in our wines. And I don't see why our wines would be available in powder form. It will be interesting to see how things play out though, just from a safe distance. As a company that is bringing the oldest form on alcohol known to man (honey wine) into the modern age, it's interesting to see someone else pushing the boundaries of one of mankind’s favorite drinks (if you can even still call it a drink). Mostly I'm reminded of this scene from the show Parks and Recreation.

Whatever you enjoy, enjoy it responsibly, but do enjoy it.

 

 

Queen's Winery Go Texan, Eco Friendly, Kosher Wine Made from Honey. 3433 W Kingsley #6 Garland TX 75041