The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) recently approved the sale of four powdered alcohol products. This follows the approval and later rescission of approval by TTB of seven powdered alcohol products in 2014.
Although this time it appears the TTB approval will stand, the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (“ABCC”) quickly issued an advisory ruling essentially stating “NOT IN MY COMMONWEALTH!” Two days after the TTB approval, the ABCC Advisory stated that Massachusetts laws prohibit the importation, sale, and manufacturing of powdered alcohol in Massachusetts.
The ABCC reasoned that:
1. M.G.L. Chapter 138 regulates both alcoholic beverages and alcohol;
2. Powdered alcohol is not a “liquid”, and thus not an “alcoholic beverage”; and
3. Existing liquor licenses for wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers only authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages – and thus, not alcohol in powdered, non-liquid form.
Some wags were heard to wonder if the ABCC were called only the Massachusetts Alcohol Control Commission whether the Advisory would have come out the other way. California, for example, took a much more welcoming approach to powders years ago in Regulation 2557.
The company that came up with “Palcohol” extols its convenience, portability and flexibility, noting that hikers for example would be able to enjoy an alcoholic beverage by a stream in the woods after a long day on the trail, without having had to carry the beverage part of their beverage all day long.
Opponents note the same convenience, portability and flexibility of Palcohol might prove irresistible to minors and other mischief-minded or just careless individuals.
Next up? How the state will regulate different forms of marijuana if legalized.