States Begin Banning Powdered Alcohol

Plus a craft brewery produces "space beer" and other news and notes in the world of wine, beer and spirits.


According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), a growing number of states are considering bans on powdered alcohol product Palcohol, which was approved last week by federal regulators. Lawmakers for Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont have already banned the product, while Minnesota, Ohio, New York and Colorado are considering following suit. Palcohol is not yet available in stores.

It’s one of the more sensational marketing ploys out there, but Eugene, Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing has gone where no brewery has gone before: space. As reported by First We Feast, the company founded its Ninkasi Space Program (NSP) last year with the intent on sending brewer’s yeast into space to then brew into special, limited-edition batches upon its return. The yeast isn’t affected by its four-minute visit to Earth’s orbit, but Ninkasi commits to its space theme with the addition of Apollo, Bravo and Comet hops in their Ground Control brew. The 55-barrel brew will be released on April 13, 2015 and will be available in only 12 states.

In the Trade

On March 19, alcoholic beverage company Diageo PLC announced that it would begin printing nutritional information, including calories per serving, on all of its products, which include Guinness, Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker. The voluntary move—largely considered a first for any alcohol company—will launch its new labels in the U.S., having received approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The nutritional labeling will also be available on Diageo’s website.

A class action lawsuit filed against 28 California wineries alleges that the products contain dangerous levels of arsenic, but industry trade group Wine Institute and producers are calling foul. “We are concerned that the irresponsible publicity campaign by the litigating party could scare the public into thinking that wine is not safe to consume which is patently untrue,” says the organization in a release. As the debate continues in California, check out this insight from Alder Yarrow (@vinography) and see our updates using #WEnews.

At this year’s Prowein—the world’s most comprehensive wine-trade fair, held in Düsseldorf, Germany—more than 52,000 wine professionals poured into the Messe Düsseldorf exhibition center to sip some wine and spirits offerings from some 6000 exhibitors. Held on March 15–17, the 22nd iteration of Prowein saw an increase in interest for Champagne (and other sparkling wines) as well as spirits and German wine, in particular. A new initiative this year called “Prowein Goes City” introduced the rest of Düsseldorf to the wine world with over 80 gourmet events held throughout the city. In addition, over 300 tasting sessions and panels drew buzz for highlighting new trends and products, like Sopexa’s selection of 100 French Wines or the spirits-focused FIZZZ Lounge, which focused on “drinks of tomorrow.” Next year’s Prowein will return to Düsseldorf on March 13–15, 2016, while ProWine China will be held in Shanghai, November 11–13, followed by the latest iteration, ProWine Asia, will be held April 12–15, 2016, in Singapore.

On March 20, The Institute of Masters of Wine welcomed five new MWs into its membership. Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW, Miles Corish MW (Australia), Jennifer Docherty MW (Canada), Patrick Schmitt MW (UK) and Victoria Stephens-Clarkson MW bring the total number of Masters of Wine to 323 from 24 countries.

On the Scene

Planning on hosting a wine-centric bash? Get the scoop from Wine Enthusiast’s Entertaining Editors Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, who share their ultimate hosting tips and wine-serving secrets with Better TV.

Italian Editor Kerin O’Keefe is on the ground, reporting highlights, tastings and events at this year’s Vinitaly. Follow her on Twitter, or keep up with @WineEnthusiast for behind-the-scenes glimpses at Italy’s largest wine event.

Our editors and reviewers really get around, eating and drinking everything in sight. Follow #WEpairing and #WEtaste on Instagram and Twitter to get a glimpse of our tasty adventures.

Published on March 23, 2015