Powdered Alcohol

Status: Apparently it's real
image I've posted before about chewy vodka bars, which are real not real (I included them as a question on my April Fool's Day test), although chewable rice wine is real. But now a German company is going a step further by making powdered alcohol, which it's marketing to teenagers. From an article in Deutsche Welle:

The powder inside contains alcohol, and a lot of it -- about 4.8 percent by volume. That is the equivalent of one to one-and-a-half glasses of liquor. The product is called subyou, manufactured by a company in North Rhine-Westphalia, and is marketed squarely at teenagers with slogans like "taste for not much dough" and "gets a good buzz going." Add the powder to cold water, and consumers have an alcoholic drink containing either vodka or rum.

I find it pretty bizarre that it's possible to convert alcohol into a powdered form, but apparently this product is real. Word of this began to spread on the internet a couple of months ago (though I only become aware of it this week), and a posting on Gizmodo.com (which sounds believable to me, as a non-scientist) comfirms that it is possible, in theory, to create powdered alcohol. The trick seems to be to mix it with sugar first:

subyou could be say 95% filler (sugar?) which has been mixed with a small amount of ethanol (your link suggests 4.8% ethanol by volume). Given that this amount of alcohol, even if one were to eat the powder straight, is only 9.6 proof “alcohol”, I’m skeptical that it’s as powerful as the website would like us to believe.

But even if this stuff is real, I can't imagine powdered rum tastes anything like the real thing.


Posted on Sun Nov 27, 2005


The alternative would be something that's reactive to water, producing alcohol as a byuproduct, but I think that'd wind up producing some pretty vile byproducts in the process...

In addition, could you imagine an exothermic, alcohol-producing reaction? *boom!*
Posted by Robin Bobcat  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  01:51 AM
hmmm... I wonder if this stuff burns...
Posted by mormagli  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  03:36 AM
if the chewy vodka bars are real, why does the April Fool's Day test state they are an April Fools..

8: Vodka Bars (April Fools!)
Reported by the Itar-Tass Russian News Agency in 1994. Oddly enough, in a case of life imitating art, a South Korean brewer announced in 2002 that it had perfected a form of chewable rice wine.
Posted by julian  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  06:34 AM
Although I don't doubt that the things can be made with alcohol, I doubt they still contain the actual alcohol. Alcohol evaporates faster than water; if you try to concentrate it by some means other than distilling, you get alcohol-flavored non-alcohol, I believe.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  07:07 AM
IIRC back in the 1980's there were news of Japanese-made powdered whisky. Never tried it, though
Posted by VL  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  07:38 AM
hmmmmm....need to try it!!!!!
Posted by X  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  11:10 AM
Julian, because I'm confused. The chewy vodka bars were a hoax.
I was thinking of the chewy rice wine that was later developed.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  12:36 PM
It seems to me the natural market for this product would be tippling backpackers. Eliminate the weight and bulk of the water, and you can get drunk on the trail with much less freight to carry. Survivalists might want to stock their bunkers with it, too.

It also reminds me of why one of the hobos in Steinbeck's "Cannery Row" says he drinks whiskey instead of beer: "With beer, you've got too much tare ..."
Posted by Big Gary in Gun Barrel City, Texas  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  03:22 PM
wait are they real or not... first you say real then you say not real then real again...

Posted by Nightmare  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  04:28 PM
I wonder if you can get a hangover or alcohol poisoning from eating two many of these packets of powder straight?
Posted by Lady Hedoniste  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  05:40 PM
"I wonder if you can get a hangover or alcohol poisoning from eating two many of these packets of powder straight?"

Of course you can. Ethanol is ethanol, and has about the same effects no matter what form you consume it in.
Posted by Big Gary in Falfurrias, Texas  on  Tue Nov 29, 2005  at  04:48 PM
Hmmm. Thanks for telling me. Kids could just sit there in class chewing on powder, while the teachers are wondering why they look drunk.
Posted by Lady Hedoniste  on  Wed Nov 30, 2005  at  05:13 PM
powdered hangover not available
Posted by Mee  on  Mon Nov 27, 2006  at  08:20 AM
what happened to he good old days of having your older brother or friends or parents pick you up some vodka...
Posted by steven michaels  on  Thu Jun 07, 2007  at  12:46 AM
Wow, I didn't think that that was possible.
Posted by Physic  on  Thu Aug 30, 2007  at  08:40 AM
Posted by drug addiction treatment center  on  Thu Sep 06, 2007  at  12:34 PM
Reminds me of an article I read about drugs been put into cheese or something like that. I doubt this will sell at all well. Only to strange people who try it once then spit it out and never try it again
Posted by drug and alcohol rehab center  on  Tue Apr 22, 2008  at  04:24 PM
In the United States, according to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), alcohol powders which are intended for beverage use fall within the jurisdiction of both the federal government (TTB) and the state governments. Therefore, they are regulated the same as any other alcoholic beverage, require the same licensing approvals and are subject to the alcoholic beverage taxes.


This is a comprehensive addiction portal focusing on topics of alcohol and drug abuse. http://------------------------
Posted by Marvin Jones  on  Tue May 13, 2008  at  11:21 AM
This sounds interesting indeed, it's the first time I hear about powdered alcohol. I am also skeptical about the idea, this kind of alcohol is targeted to teenagers and the way I see things powdered alcohol can affect them as much as liquid alcohol can... So what is the point with this new form of alcohol?
Posted by Alcohol rehab program  on  Mon Dec 08, 2008  at  08:49 AM
just to let the world know that this product must only of been invented for all the ppl locked away in prison....what else would they need
Posted by maxine  on  Fri Jan 09, 2009  at  09:40 PM
i think this product would be so usefull, im going to glsto and cant work out how to get all this alcohol up the hill, if you could add the water when there would make festivals so much easier!!
Posted by emma  on  Sat Jun 05, 2010  at  09:25 AM
I don't understand it. What would the purpose of powdered alcohol be? I would never want it. Can you cook with it? You can cook with alcohol the way it is. I don't believe the company would be marketing to teenagers and will have to see this for myself as alcohol is alcohol whether powder or liquid.
Posted by New York Bankruptcy Lawyer  on  Wed Dec 15, 2010  at  12:00 PM
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