I was watching the idiot box tonight and I see a news story out of America showing the latest invention. Powdered Alcohol. Palcohol for short.
Their website, palcohol.com states
We are so excited to bring Palcohol to the market as it has so many positive uses in medicine, energy, travel, hospitality, manufacturing, commercial use as well as for individuals. It’s a revolutionary new product that can help so many industries. Unfortunately, no one seems to understand that.
The positives I assume are associated with the ability to transport more with less weight. It has been noted that it is also easier to smuggle in to dorms, schools, parties, concerts, but they seem to ignore that ‘side effect’. It has been banned in 7 states of America already, and it’s only been on the market officially for a little over two weeks.
They have addressed the banning as being a bad thing though. They point out that
1. Psychological studies show that when something is banned, it creates a heightened demand. We want things we can’t have. More people drank during Prohibition than before Prohibition and more people drank to excess. By banning Palcohol, it will make people want it even more.
2. By banning powdered alcohol, the state will create a black market which means the state loses control of the distribution. A concerned parent came up to me and said she supported the ban of Palcohol to keep it away from her 15 year old daughter. I asked her which is easier, for her daughter to buy marijuana or a bottle of vodka in a liquor store? There’s no way a 15 year old can buy vodka in a liquor store but it’s easy to buy marijuana on the street. That’s because marijuana is banned so there are no rules on distribution so anyone can sell it to anyone else. Banning Palcohol will make it easier for kids to get access to the product because there is no control over distribution.
3. It’s irresponsible to ban Palcohol. The government will spend precious financial resources trying to enforce the ban and it probably won’t work. We can see how successful the government was during Prohibition and even in the war on drugs.
And the government will lose significant tax revenue from the sales of legal powdered alcohol. So banning Palcohol is fiscally irresponsible.
4. Alcohol misuse and abuse is a real problem. People can abuse any product and there’s no controlling what a person does with a product. What’s the solution? We know that you can’t legislate behavior so banning Palcohol is not the solution. We have to educate people on the responsible use of alcohol.
You don’t ban a product because of the irresponsible use of it by a few people. Especially with Palcohol that has so many innovative uses for individuals and businesses that saves money, reduces the carbon footprint and allows new opportunities that liquid alcohol can’t provide.
Don’t you just love it when they argue that it is environmental too. We are all supposed to feel warm and fuzzy when they mention reducing the carbon footprint.
Their argument does hold water on a few fronts but, you have to ask yourself if they are really fighting for the rights of the consumer, or fighting for the right to make obscene amounts of money at the expense of the consumer.
Banning the sale of the product does create a market in itself. That is true. There is always a market for illegal goods. The governments have an issue that will be hard to address. Australia could easily ban it’s importation. But that is a benefit of being so far away from the rest of humanity.
They could tax the product beyond the limits of affordability I guess but that will hit the alcoholics unfairly. Not that the alcoholic will care, but it will disadvantage their family.
They could use the technology to manufacture non alcoholic drinks, but I’m guessing that will not be nearly as attractive financially.
The one thing I do know from growing up in the 70’s and 80’s when drugs and excessive drinking became the things ‘cool kids’ did, there is a fine line between enjoying something and abusing something.
I ask you this:
What stops someone reducing the mixing ratio of water / powder?
What stops someone replacing the water with a liquid alcohol?
Could you imaging this at a rave party? Kids mixing powdered alcohol with powdered drugs and smoking it, liquefying it or injecting it?
Sorry, I’m not convinced this is a good idea.
Palcohol will be made in two different formulations, a Beverage Formulation (ingestible) and an Industrial Formulation (non-ingestible).
Make the industrial formulation by all means. But I see no reason that a powered alcoholic beverage is better idea than a ‘real’ one.
They market the idea to airlines as a space saver. But, they admit:
The volume of a shot of powdered alcohol is 4X greater than the volume of a shot of liquid alcohol…. Palcohol does not dissolve instantly in liquid and would take over a minute of stirring to dissolve the equivalent of one shot of alcohol into a drink
I don’t see the attraction for an airline. A minute of stirring per passenger per drink. 200 passengers on a flight? You do the math.
All I can see is the inventor wants to make a lot of money and cares little about the consumer.
One of our drink manufactures has the moto “Drink Responsibly”. I suggest the consumers have a motto for them – “Act Responsibly”. It would be a good start.