Alcohol powder

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Alcohol powder is molecularly encapsulated alcohol. The powder produces an alcoholic beverage when mixed with water.

Chemical properties[edit]

According to food chemist Udo Pollmer of the European Institute of Food and Nutrition Sciences in Munich, alcohol can be absorbed in cyclodextrins, a sugar derivate. In this way, encapsuled in small capsules, the fluid can be handled as a powder. The cyclodextrins can absorb an estimated 60 percent of their own weight in alcohol.[1] A US patent was registered for the process as early as 1974.[2]

Chemical structure of the three main types of cyclodextrins.

Legal issues[edit]

In the United States, according to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), alcohol powders which are intended for beverage use fall within the jurisdiction of both the federal government (TTB) and the state governments. Therefore, they are regulated the same as any other alcoholic beverage, require the same licensing approvals and are subject to the alcoholic beverage taxes.[citation needed]

Currently, alcohol powder which is unfit for beverage purposes is sold as a food flavoring in the United States.[clarification needed] There is some uncertainty as to legal regulations in other countries. According to some[who?], alcohol laws would in general only apply to liquids. This would mean that powder-based alcoholic beverages could be sold to minors and that the powder would be exempt from alcohol tax and laws, as is the case with certain products in the Netherlands.

Routes of administration[edit]

  • Reconstituted: Alcohol powder can be added to water to make an alcoholic beverage.[3]
  • Oral: Alcohol powder is useful with capsules to eliminate the burning taste of rectified spirit upon ingestion.[citation needed]
  • Nebulizer: Alcohol powder produced through molecular encapsulated with cyclodextrin can be used with a nebulizer[4]



In Germany a product called Subyou reportedly was or is distributed on the Internet. The product was available in four flavours and packed in 65-, or possibly 100-gram, sachets. When mixed with 0.25 litres of water it gives a drink with 4.8% alcohol. It was assumed a German producer manufactured the alcopop powder based on imported raw alcohol powder from the US.[5]


In the Netherlands the product Booz2go was reported in May 2007[citation needed]. It will produce a bubbly, lime-coloured and lime-flavoured drink with 3% alcohol when mixed with water. When put into commercial production, it is expected to sell for 1.50 euro (approx. US$2.50) for a 20 gram sachet[citation needed]. The product is marketed by four food technology students, Harm van Elderen, Martyn van Nierop and others at Helicon Vocational Institute in Boxtel. They said they are aiming at the youth market, and one advantage of the powder is it would be legal to sell to people under 18, the legal age of drinking in the Netherlands. They compared the drink to alcopops like Bacardi Breezer, and expect the relatively low alcohol content will be popular with the young segment.[6]

Director Wim van Dalen of the Dutch National Foundation for Alcohol Prevention said the powder was not subject to the Alcohol and Horeca Code, but when dissolved in water it would be. This would mean that everyone could buy the powder. He said he generally did not support new alcoholic drinks, but doubted the powder would become attractive. A spokesman of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport said they would not undertake any actions against the product, but added that according to other laws the label must contain a warning about any health risks for the consumer.[7]

United States[edit]

In 2008, Pulver Spirits was developing a line of alcohol powder products. The marketing was reportedly intended to be in full compliance with alcohol regulations and targeted at adults of legal drinking age.[8]

In spring 2014 the Arizona-based company Lipsmark LLC announced that it would be marketing powdered alcohol from that fall under the name Palcohol.[9] The product was briefly approved for sale by the ATF on April 8, 2014, but was later rescinded on April 21.[10] Ohio state politicians introduced legislation in 2014 that would ban Palcohol and all powdered alcohol.[11]


  1. ^ Alcohol powder: Alcopops from a bag, Westdeutsche Zeitung, 28 October 2004 (German)
  2. ^ Preparation of an Alcohol Containing Powder, General Foods Corporation March 31, 1972
  3. ^ Powdered Alcohol Coming To The US
  4. ^ Le, V. N.; Leterme, P.; Gayot, A.; Flament, M. P. (2006). "Aerosolization potential of cyclodextrins--influence of the operating conditions". PDA journal of pharmaceutical science and technology / PDA 60 (5): 314–322. PMID 17089700.  edit
  5. ^ "Statt Alcopops droht Sucht in Tüten". Die Tageszeitung (in German). 10 November 2004. Archived from the original on 20 February 2009. 
  6. ^ Just add water – students invent alcohol powder Reuters, 6 June 2007
  7. ^ Students make alcohol powder, Het Parool, 25 May 2007 (Dutch)
  8. ^ Amara, Audrey (4 July 2008). "Alcohol Powder Starts Flowing". Science 2.0. ION Publications LLC. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Powdered Alcohol". Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  10. ^ Stampler, Laura; Alexandra Sifferlin (22 April 2014). "Feds: Powdered Alcohol Approved in ‘Error’". TIME. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  11. ^ Walsworth, Jack (22 July 2014). "Powdered alcohol? Ohio may ban it". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 22 July 2014.