|How to legally distill at home-taking the U.S. as an example|
Household distillation is a problem that is both confusing and straightforward. In any case, we are not lawyers, and we have absolutely no permission to provide legal advice, so nothing in this article is intended to replace the advice of licensed legal professionals. The short answer is that unlicensed distilled alcohol is illegal at the federal level and will replace any regulations in your state.
The wording of the home distillation laws in some states is like this. If it is legal within the federal scope, then it is also legal there... But some states still prohibit the distilling of alcohol at home, regardless of federal legality. The small stills that are ignored by local law enforcement agencies are for personal use, because the law is in place, mainly to ensure tax collection. However, unless you have a license, you may be punished for distilling spirits at home. Before distilling any spirits or even purchasing any distillation equipment, please research your own home distillation laws and/or seek legal counsel, as it is also illegal to own a still in some states.
At the federal level, when distilling spirits at home, things become very simple and dry. The U.S. Tax and Trade Administration's (TTB) website states, “Although people of legal drinking age may produce wine or beer for personal or family use at home, federal law strictly prohibits the production of distilled alcohol at home and prohibits individuals.”
In other words, beer and wine can be produced at home, but distilling spirits requires a license.
In addition to the federal requirements for distillation licenses, each state has its own home distillation laws, and some states are more friendly to stills than others.
|Florida Home Distillation|
If you do not have a license, you can confiscate any property or raw materials used to manufacture and sell materials to "evade tax" by producing duty-free spirits. In fact, owning one gallon or more of illegally produced spirits in Florida is a felony. Less than a gallon is considered a misdemeanor by Florida, but seizure of property can still be enforced. Another quirk in Florida is that it is also illegal to own a distiller here without a license, so technically, you can’t even legally distill water if you want.
Contrary to Florida, some states have home distillation laws that allow "legal" bootleg alcohol, even though the federal government considers it illegal. These states include Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Rhode Island. Federal laws do replace state laws, but since we are not lawyers, you can research your own options for distilling spirits at home. Each state is really different. This is a great resource to check the laws regarding distillation in your state.
|Options for distilling spirits at home|
Therefore, if you happen to live in a place that is more legally friendly, there are several options for a home still. For those who are licensed and unfamiliar with distillation, or for those living in states that allow households to distill "water", a relatively inexpensive option is to start with a milk jug and a copper helmet or a small pillar. These are good learning systems because they are customizable, and you can customize each system according to your needs.
The type of device you choose will depend on the content you want to produce. Generally speaking, the copper layer chromatography column can better separate different components. They will also provide you with products that are purer than wearing a copper helmet. The more plates in the system, the better the separation effect. This is why most systems that produce vodka have 12 to 30 plates.
There seems to be an endless debate about how much copper is appropriate for the distiller. Although there are many advantages, the law of diminishing returns also applies. You can make exquisite products on distiller made of glass, stainless steel or copper, so you can decide how much you budget for the equipment. A good rule of thumb is that glass is cheaper than stainless steel and stainless steel is cheaper than copper. Ultimately, no matter what material you choose, make sure that your equipment is properly cleaned.
Hope you now have a better understanding of home distillation and the knowledge needed to start distilling spirits at home. If you have any questions about the required equipment, please contact us. If you have any questions about the laws in your area or the consequences of household distillation, please call a local lawyer, because they can provide you with more help than us!
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