Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Can I Operate a "Home Still" and Produce Spirits for "Persomal Use"?

    A little bit of research into the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) rules makes it really clear that the answer is "NO"!   The stories of being able to produce spirits for your personal consumption is still just as serious of a crime as was moonshining in  the Carolina's during the moonshining days of the 40's and 50's.   "Thunder Road" and the shiners vs the revenuers is going on today here in Florida.  A TTB report of a joint operation with the Florida Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco targeted possession of stills and the illegal production of distilled spirits.

     The joint operation resulted in 8 arrests and seizure of 46 stills by Florida authorities. 

    "The possession of unregistered stills and the production of distilled spirits without a Federal permit and without payment of tax are Federal felony offenses which may result in the seizure and forfeiture of land and other property associated with the illegal activity." 

     "Persons wishing to distill spirits legally are encouraged to visit the TTB distilled spirits homepage at
 for guidance and to apply for a permit."
The process to be able to produce spirits here in America is expensive and very time consuming.   There are a number of companies that sell "home stills", but if you use them to produce consumable alcoholic spirits you are the one that is in trouble, not the makes of the stills.   You  better make sure that there is a market for your product before starting down the road of that business.   Our Federal, State and Local governments still want their cut of any spirits that are produced.  Again it is back to the revenuer vs the distiller.  
       "You may not produce spirits for beverage purposes without paying taxes and without prior approval of paperwork to operate a distilled spirits plant. [See 26 U.S.C. 5601 & 5602 for some of the criminal penalties.] There are numerous requirements that must be met that also make it impractical to produce spirits for personal or beverage use. Some of these requirements are paying special tax, filing an extensive application, filing a bond, providing adequate equipment to measure spirits, providing suitable tanks and pipelines, providing a separate building (other than a dwelling) and maintaining detailed records, and filing reports. All of these requirements are listed in 27 CFR Part 19. "
    Here are some of the laws that govern the operation of a still for the purpose of producing spirits.  "
     "Spirits may be produced for non-beverage purposes for fuel use only without payment of tax, but you also must file an application, receive TTB's approval, and follow requirements, such as construction, use, records and reports."
     The bottom line is you really need to get your spirits at the store or your favorite watering hole, a felony arrest like what is happening in Florida aren't really worth the little bit of savings on your next cocktail.  ;o(