In accordance with a slew of new alcohol regulations that came into effect last Thursday, Connecticut residents will no longer be allowed to purchase powdered alcohol.
Connecticut State Senate Bill 386, passed June 4, will bring several changes to alcohol policy, such as allowing bowling alleys to sell alcohol later into the night, lowering the age at which an employee can sell alcohol from 18 to 16 and permitting farmers markets to sell beer. The bill will also limit the amount and types of alcohol wholesale retailers can provide as samples, as well as allowing liquor stores to sell cigars.
Support for the bill was widespread, with 23 state senators and representatives standing behind it as co-sponsors. But much of the bill’s support was due to its prohibition of powdered alcohol.
“[Powdered alcohol] really doesn’t have any place in our society,” Executive Director of the General Counsel Peter Berdon said. “We have enough problems with the liquid kind … It can be a very dangerous thing.”
Powdered alcohol — approved for sale in the U.S. by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in March — is a powdered or crystalline substance that, when mixed according to the instructions on the packet, produces a liquid with a potency of 10 percent. The product has yet to enter the Connecticut market.
Met with public confusion regarding whether powdered alcohol has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA responded with a March 13 “clarifying statement” about the product’s safety.
“We did not provide an approval, nor did we conduct any testing [on powdered alcohol],” the statement read. “However, at this time the FDA does not have a legal basis to block market entry of this product.”
The FDA also noted that its evaluation of powdered alcohol was solely based on its nonalcoholic ingredients.
Beyond restricting sales, the new alcohol laws also allow more freedom for small breweries. Small manufacturers can now obtain permits to sell beer at up to three farmers markets a year. But beer may not become a staple at all state farmers markets — the bill allows individual cities to revoke this new liberty at their discretion.
Not all state residents support every aspect of the bill.
Chairman of the Department of Government and Politics at Sacred Heart University Gary Rose said introducing beer to farmers markets seems like a contradiction, explaining that it appears inconsistent to sell beer at an event where patrons are buying organic vegetables to make their diets healthier.
Students interviewed said it is unlikely this bill will affect Yale’s drinking culture.
“I don’t feel like it will have that much of an impact on campus life,” Eugene Lee ’19 said. “Most people I know don’t drink beer that much compared to other types of alcohol.”
But the issue of whether beer will be sold at farmers markets near campus is another question altogether. CitySeed, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable food, has a strict application process for their vendors and automatically prevents the sale of any goods without “an agricultural component.” This policy would limit the number of breweries able to approach CitySeed in the first place, as breweries would have to grow their own grain.
Though alcohol has been converted into crystalline form for more than 200 years, the powdered alcohol brand “Palcohol” marks the first powdered product to enter the U.S. alcohol market.