Powdered alcohol for US market hits label snag

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A powder that would give new meaning to mixed drinks may take time to hit the US market, the company said Tuesday after regulators found a labeling problem.

Palcohol - a powdered alcohol product - is made by an Arizona company called Lipsmark and will come in six varieties of single-drink pouches, the company website says.

It would be the first such product available for sale in the United States, though powdered alcohol has already been approved in Japan and some European countries.

However, after Lipsmark reported Monday it was on track for release in the fall, it later said that it learned of a "discrepancy" from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

"We were contacted yesterday about the discrepancy," a spokesman told AFP in an email on Tuesday, adding that the issue did not mean approval for Palcohol had been withdrawn.

"Palcohol was approved and is still approved," she said. "We will continue moving forward with the product."

The spokesman declined to elaborate on the nature of the discrepancy but referred AFP to a statement online which said it related to "how much powder is in the bag."

The company added there was "a mutual agreement for us to surrender the labels," and that new labels would be submitted. Any approval date for those is unknown.

A spokesman for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau did not immediately respond to AFP requests for comment.

The half-dozen powder products are made so that they can be combined with water to create a shot of rum or vodka, or with cola or orange juice for a mixer.

Palcohol also plans to release cocktail formulations, including Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Margarita and Lemon Drop.

The company said the product will be sold to people of legal drinking age and could even be sprinkled on food.

A patent for the mixture is pending.

In response to consumer inquiries about whether the product could be snorted, Lipsmark said it would take a half cup of powder to equal one drink.

"Don't do it! It is not a responsible or smart way to use the product," the website urged.