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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Idaho looks at banning powdered alcohol

Now that an Arizona company has developed and is preparing to market a form of powdered alcohol, including a “Powderita” that touts, “Just add water for an instant cocktail,” Idaho’s state Liquor Division is proposing legislation to ban the product in the Gem State.

Twenty-five states, including Washington, Nevada and Utah, already have passed legislation to ban powdered alcohol, and a proposed federal law also is pending to ban what New York Sen. Charles Schumer called “Kool-Aid for underage drinking.”

The creator of “Palcohol,” Mark Phillips, vigorously disputes that characterization, maintaining his product is a safe form of alcohol that could be regulated and sold to adults just like liquid alcohol. Phillips, head of Lipsmark Inc., says on his company website that he developed the product “after years of research, experimentation and consultation with scientists around the world.”

It could be used by folks like backpackers who don’t want to carry the weight of liquid alcohol, and its light weight would make it easy to ship, he notes. The product, approved by the FDA in March, hasn’t yet hit the market, but the company is touting versions made from vodka and rum, and others that are powdered forms of cocktails including a margarita and a cosmopolitan. There are also possible industrial uses.

“Whether you are conservative or liberal, no one wants a nanny government telling its citizens what they can and cannot drink,” Phillips declared on the website. “The legislature is there to protect the citizen’s right to choose and support innovative business ideas, not to impose your values on them.”

But Jeff Anderson, director of the Idaho State Liquor Division, said, “This is a product that has caused great concern around the country, particularly for its concealability.” He said the division reached out to a broad coalition of prevention groups, law enforcement, educators, and alcohol distributors and retailers, and all backed banning it; you can read my full story here at

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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