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Related points, Powdered Alcohol

Patent

Dan the patent lawyer scoped it out and reports:

Patent applications are kept confidential by the government until they either issue as a patent or are published. Palcohol describes its product as “Patent Pending,” which simply means that they have (probably recently) filed a patent application. The contents of the application will likely not be accessible by the public until 18 months after the application was filed, or later.

That said, my expectation is that the patentability of Palcohol is very narrow and a patent will not be effective at keeping competitors at bay. Powderized alcohol is not, generally, a new concept. In fact, these products are already being sold in other countries (Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands). Apparently, alcohol has been sold in powder form in the US in the past as flavoring (per here), and has been the subject of multiple US patents:  Preparation of an alcoholic dry beverage powder (1969); Alcohol-containing powder (1972); and Alcohol-containing powder (1974), to name a few.

The technology behind Palcohol is explained here.

Historical context

A Dutch sailor of hundreds of years ago would love this stuff because it has many of the same attributes as spirits compared to wine (being much lighter and easier to transport). Granta explains:

Great distilled drinks had their origin in sailing and interoceanic trade. First, Dutch sailors came up with the idea of “reducing” wine by heating it up (taking out its spirit in a still) and from there brandy was born. This distillation of wine was rough stuff, but it combined three advantages: it weighed less than wine, took up less space and lasted longer. The idea was to add water to it again on the other side of the sea, but the drink ended up being enjoyed as it was, strong and pure.

Updates

We first published this blog post on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 5 pm. Since then we have made various updates and adjustments and will continue to do so, as more facts come to light. Funny enough, there was nothing on Google about Palcohol as of the time of the initial blog post and in fact Google did not think PALCOHOL was a real word and instead said “did you mean:  alcohol.” Please also note that John found the label approvals in TTB’s Public COLA Registry.

Mark Phillips, The Palcohol Company, Lipsmark LLC of Tempe, Arizona

We hasten to add and clarify that we do not represent any of these companies and do not speak for them. I have conferred with Mark Phillips within the past few days and he does want to stress that he plans to ensure Palcohol is marketed to adults of legal drinking age only, and needs to be used responsibly just like any other product with alcohol. Mark said you should always check with the owner of any place you plan to consume Palcohol:  “ask the venue first if it’s okay to bring Palcohol in. We don’t want you to use Palcohol illegally and get thrown in jail. Our position has always been that one should use Palcohol responsibly and legally.” (5/8/2014 edit; Mark Phillips does quite a good job rebutting most of Palcohol’s critics here.)

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