Just when we least expected it, here is another version of powdered alcohol. It got approved a couple weeks ago, after grinding through the process for a good long while (six months or more). Many thanks to an astute reader for pointing this out to us. The label raises a boatload of legal issues. Before wading into those issues, I’d like to ask who has seen powdered alcohol out in the wild, at retail? Who has tried it? The product is Lieutenant Blender’s Cheat-A-Rita, from a distillery in Texas. Much more coverage, of powdered alcohol and Palcohol, is here.Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Here is an innovative new spirits product called Cocktail Caviar. It is “burst-able pearls of naturally flavored spirits.” You can toss them in some wine, or freeze them and add them to other drinks. The product is so new that there is not much about this product on the web so far. If I understand correctly, these chickpea sized “pearls” are a giantized version of the tiny booze droplets that make up Palcohol. Here, the alcohol is encapsulated in a layer of kelp and so it not quite a liquid and not quite a solid. Maybe there is shock fatigue after the Palcohol surprise, or the size of the pearls makes an enormous difference, or it’s the upscale marketing — but it does not seem like this product is bound to raise hackles the way the powderized product has. Steven Hollenkamp, the man behind this product, explained that part of the appeal of the brand name is that “caviar” is not at all likely to appeal to minors. I happened to meet Steven this week and he explained:
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We worked diligently with TTB getting Cocktail Caviar approved. This included 240 emails, dozens of phone calls and several in-person meetings with TTB administrators, one of which was a lengthy sit down meeting with several high-ups at...
Palcohol is probably the biggest story in my 25 years of working with alcohol beverage law. As much or more media interest as compared to absinthe or Four Loko, or even direct shipping. Palcohol went from zero results on Google as of April 18th to more than 2 million as of this writing (and 4 million as of May 2). By some measures it’s bigger than Rhianna.* So, what happened? This FAQ expands on and updates our original blog post first published on April 18.
- What is Palcohol? It is powderized alcohol. By the way, we don’t represent Palcohol or speak for them. The technology is explained here.
- Why does it matter? It is much more portable as compared to heavy liquids. It is not clear that the US Government has ever approved a powdered alcohol in the past, even though the technology has been around since the 1970s.
- Is it approved or not? The Palcohol company has made a huge amount of progress toward bringing this to stores. They have about five formula approvals and a distilling permit. These are big projects and major accomplishments. Formula approval usually takes a couple of months and involves a thorough review of all ingredients and methods. The permit usually takes six months or more and involves background...
As of April 8-21, 2014, this was approved. The federal government approved this brand of powderized alcohol two weeks ago. The reviewing agency has been TTB (not FDA, as some press accounts have said). TTB is a sub-unit of the US Department of Treasury.
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April 21, 2014, 5 pm ET, Update: The Palcohol company has surrendered all seven label approvals back to TTB. Here is one of the labels as approved on April 8, 2014 and then the same label as “surrendered” April 21. The differing status is shown at the center of each document. TTB has not said much about the change of course. Palcohol has said: “We have been in touch with the TTB and there seemed to be a discrepancy on our fill level, how much powder is in the bag. There was a mutual agreement for us to surrender the labels.”
May 8, 2014,...
About two years ago we showed spirits in the form of whipped cream. Last year we showed spirits in the form of an ice pop (more commonly known as a popsicle). Just last week we showed various chocolate wines, to underscore the movement toward “The Dessertification of Beverages.” Nathan added a comment, asking how long until a convergence between spirits and ice cream. Within the same week, TTB approved a line of ice cream products, with about as much alcohol content as a light beer. snoBaR is made by Brothers International Desserts, of Irvine, California. Brothers seems to be mainly an ice cream company, more than a spirits company. So far, Brothers has approvals for Pink Squirrel (with brandy and amaretto, as above), Grasshopper (with brandy and creme de menthe), and Brandy Alexander (with brandy and creme de cocoa). All of them are about 4% alc./vol. — a fair amount more than the rum raisin ice creams of an earlier era. Baskin-Robbins tends to suggest that their Rum Raisin is made with little if any rum, while Häagen-Dazs suggests that at least a little rum is used.Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Whipahol must be doing well, because now along comes another “Alcohol Infused Whipped Cream.” It apparently is packed in an aerosol can. The back label says “CREAM is completely shelf stable and DOES NOT need to be refrigerated even after use.” The qualifications suggest that TTB wanted to check out this claim. This is canned by Temperance Distilling Company in Temperance, Michigan. For other advances in things whipped, there is Pinnacle Whipped – Whipped Cream Flavored Vodka. November 30, 2010 Update: here is a good CNBC clip on Whipahol, from yesterday. It is hard to believe that this light and frothy product can be portrayed as something sinister, and whipped up into the next “controversy in a can.” December 8, 2010 Update: the whipped booze products get so very much attention (including our extensive on-air interview with CBS radio) that TTB issues a statement, to explain how such products are regulated.Continue Reading Leave a Comment