Since 1969 a U.S. patent has been registered on the process of turning alcohol into powder.

This year, products, such as gelatin shots and margaritas, based from alcohol powder are set to be released by Pulver Spirits and BPNC Distillery.

Though alcohol powder is regulated the same as other alcoholic beverages in the U.S., it is only sold as a food flavoring. However, in other countries such as the Netherlands, lack of regulations make obtaining powdered alcohol within reach to minors.

In May of 2007, the drink Booz2go, developed by a group of students at Helicon Vocational Institute, about one hour from Amsterdam, was released to the public. This mix of alcohol powder and sugar is only 3 percent alcohol content, but young people under the legal drinking age of 16 are free to consume an unlimited amount.

Food chemist Udo Pallmer of the European Institute of Food and Nutrition Sciences in Munich was cited in a German news article from WZ Newsline as describing the process of turning alcohol into powder through its absorption into the sugar derivative cyclodextrin.

At this point, the alcohol becomes encapsulated in capsules ready to be handled as a powder. The article, written in German, refers to powdered alcohol being used mainly in malt beverages, or “alcopops.” The alcopop reference to flavored alcoholic drinks, like wine coolers, is a term sometimes used by anti-alcohol activists as well as largely being linked to alcohol powder.

People in the alcohol industry try to stay away from the term for its tie between “alcohol” and “soda-pop.” At one point, certain confusion stemming from the mixing of an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic word became apparent and was thence referenced by the Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau in a 2005 publication.

“1. “Alcopops,” which are also known as flavored malt beverages, contain distilled spirits and, accordingly, should be taxed as distilled spirits…” (1) The example of the diversion caused by the name alcopop is a good example of the aberration that alcohol in powdered form is capable of causing. Besides Booz2go, which has already beat rules regarding drinking age in the Netherlands, a spin-off on imported raw alcohol powder from the U.S. has been distributed online in Germany called Subyou, sources on Wikipedia write.

On the Panama-based Subyou website the product is advertised in easy-to-carry tablets with health benefits. The Alcopop beverage contains almost 5 percent alcohol, ready for consumption in four flavors after mixing with water. Along the lines of powdered alcohol, in 2002 at Purdue University in Indiana, students created a product they refer to as freeze-dried beer.

The powder, originally designed as an additive to foods, may be a let down to people who see alcohol powder as an incredible invention. The invention is more like a spice to be sprinkled on foods and is non-alcoholic. However, it does provide hope for more authentic powdered beer someday.

NOTES: (1) California Board of Equalization. Flavored Malt Beverages, 2005