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State considering powdered alcohol ban

Posted: May 20, 2014 - 6:16pm

COLUMBIA — South Carolina is among states that want to ban powdered alcohol ahead of the product’s anticipated approval by federal regulators.

The product, Palcohol, is legal in Japan, Germany and the Netherlands, and would be restricted to legal-age consumers the same as liquid alcohol, according to the company.

However, state senators moved forward a bill Thursday that would prohibit using, purchasing, selling or on-premises serving by a license holder. A third-time offender could be fined $3,000 under the proposed ban. The proposal, introduced by Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens, was filed after the May 1 Crossover Day deadline, meaning it faces a much taller hurdle to passage.

Palcohol is owned by a privately held company, Lipsmark, which anticipates selling the product in the fall. The company lists vodka, rum, cosmopolitan, mojito, powderita, and lemon drop as its powdered products.

But South Carolina, like a handful of other states, are taking a preemptive stance against it.

In April, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau granted initial approval to Palcohol but rescinded the approval, stating that the labels were inaccurate, according to a subcommittee staff report.

The company’s Web site takes on the arguments against the product, which it touts as an “instant cocktail” after adding water.

“Some are calling for a ban of powdered alcohol. That is the wrong approach,” it states. “Palcohol should be approved, taxed and regulated just like liquid alcohol.”

Among its claims is that consumers would have a hard time sneaking a 4- by 6-inch packet of Palcohol into a venue.

Hospitality, too, would benefit from powdered alcohol, argues the site, pointing to airlines reducing the weight of planes and saving on fuel by carrying Palcohol powder instead of bottles of liquor.

The site also touts unconventional uses, such using Palcohol as an antiseptic, and further boasts of a separate, industrial formulation: “A Swedish and a Canadian inquired about using it in their windshield wiper fluid.”

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