Powdered alcohol maker fights to keep it legal in Texas

GALVESTON, TX (KTRK) -- Ralph McMorris is no bartender, but he makes drinks for a living.

His line of powdered cocktail mixes is sold around the world. To make a drink, just mix in water with the powdered alcohol.

McMorris showed Eyewitness News the simple way powdered alcohol is made. Combine liquor with a few other ingredients, then mix it all together. The alcohol is absorbed and a powder remains, which is causing controversy.

"We're concerned that people will snort powdered alcohol, that it's going to have a more instant and stronger affect than drinking alone," said Grace Barnett with Texas Standing Tall.

Texas Standing Tall advocates for teenage health. The organization was the only one to testify in the state legislature in support of a House Bill 1018 that would ban powdered alcohol.

Across the country, six states have already banned the product, and Texas could follow suit in the next few weeks.

McMorris said the ruling would be short-sighted.

"I think it's misinformation that they're traveling on." McMorris said.

ABC-13's legal analyst was more cynical, pointing out the people lobbying lawmakers to ban powdered alcohol are liquor stores. Some of powdered alcohol's biggest critics are those in the business of selling beer and liquor in the traditional form.

"I don't think a law that is enacted that prohibits the powdered alcohol business, the new business, would withstand court scrutiny," said legal analyst Joel Androphy.

As a small businessman in Galveston, McMorris does not want to sue anyone. Instead, he just wants a chance to grow his concept legally.

"For us to do it is easy, the hard part is getting all the legality done," McMorris said.

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