First, let's define what we mean. After all,
this is a legal issue, so it's important that we understand the
Alcohol is produced by the process of
fermentation, which IS legal in the U.S. Distillation doesn't
produce alcohol, it concentrates it; and that is where the issue
Distillation of water, essential essences, herbs
etc is entirely legal (to our knowledge) everywhere.
Distillation of alcohol is often a different
matter, depending on where you are, and what you DO with the
1) In your home:
In New Zealand, Sweden, and many other
countries, we are told it IS legal to distill alcohol for your own
consumption. We are not lawyers, and do not know the laws of each
country well enough to make a judgment call for you on this; we
advise you to determine your own legal position before doing
the U.S., distilling alcohol for your personal consumption is
NOT legal, and we must discourage you from doing so. It doesn't
matter if you make just a few bottles, or 10,000 barrels. It is not
legal. If you intend to do this, please do not tell us. Again, it
is important that YOU determine your own legal position. We can't
and won't do it for you.
If you intend to SELL homemade whiskey, vodka or
other booze, rest assured, it is NOT legal. The U.S. has a colorful
history of moonshining, but if you do it you can be arrested,
prosecuted, jailed and otherwise "inconvenienced" for this illegal
Reading books about moonshining, still building
and the distillation process is entirely legal. Owning distillation
equipment is legal. If you use it in an illegal fashion, you are on
your own. Again, determine your own legal position.
If you make alcohol for FUEL, this can be legal.
There are many legitimate uses for alcohol as a motor fuel, heat
source, lamps, solvent etc., and you are entitled to do this with
the proper permits. You can even obtain tax credits from the
government for doing so. Using alcohol as a fuel helps us to reduce
our dependence on foreign oil.
2) At a commercial location
Of course you can distill whiskey, vodka, gin
etc. IF you have been licensed by the government to do so.
Commercial distilleries are everywhere, after all. They are
required to apply for a license, post bond, get label approval and
(most importantly) pay taxes on their product. This is a large
undertaking, so if you intend to do this, do your legal research
and plan accordingly.
Homebrew Heaven's position:
We sell equipment, books and supplies that have
legal uses and we do not encourage illegal uses. Further, we
DISCOURAGE you from using them in an illegal fashion by advising
you of the consequences. We accept no legal responsibility for your
behavior. Employees are not allowed to offer you advice on how to
use these products illegally.
Welcome to the land of the free (and the
home of the brave!).
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