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Understanding Distilling Laws

Disclaimer: Nothing should be construed here as encouragement to break the law or to perform any illegal act. The purchasers of our products assume all responsibility and liability and risk of use for the activities and purposes for which they choose to use our products.

The legality of distilling varies greatly between countries. Distilling for many purposes (water purification, essential oil extraction, etc.) is typically legal and unregulated. However the distilling of alcohol is frequently regulated. Here in the United States, by federal law, the distilling of alcohol requires a license and the payment of substantially high taxes ($13.50 per proof gallon) on the volume of production. Any study of history will reveal that it is the desire to collect this tax revenue that drives the regulation of distilling.

It is this understanding of the tax revenue motivation of the government that allows a person to assess their risk of undertaking the distillation of alcohol for hobby purposes. In today's world of meth labs, drug dealers, and terrorists the TTB (U.S. agency for the enforcement of Alcohol and Tobacco Trade legislation) has much larger priorities than to pursue enforcement against an individual for making a few gallons of distilled spirits for personal consumption. In fact it has been many years since there has been a conviction in the U.S. for small volume personal distilling. However it should be noted (remember that tax revenue motivation) that the TTB aggressively pursues those who make and sell illegal spirits.

A few states have legalized, including here in Missouri, the small volume distilling of alcohol for personal consumption. However this is State Law only and Federal laws still apply.. But at least in the States where it is legal one need not worry about being prosecuted for violation of State Law. And since the Federal TTB has only administrative powers (not police powers) they must gain the cooperation of State and/or local law enforcement to exercise their power. That is difficult to obtain in areas where hobby distilling is permitted by law.

The TTB does have the authority to require manufacturers like us to report to whom we sell and ship a still, still boiler, or condenser to and has required this from us in the past (the many generic parts and hardware items we sell have never been a part of this reporting requirement). However we are no longer required to report. In a letter dated 6/10/15 from the TTB we have been informed that they no longer require any sales information reporting from us. Be aware that some other manufacturers may still be required to report and all manufacturers are required to keep sales records for a period of three years. Be also aware that it is not illegal for you to own a still and you are not required to register it if you are using it for purposes other than the distillation of alcohol spirits. Water distillation, floral essence distilling, or even artistic display are all valid uses for owning a still without registering it. If you are ever contacted by the TTB it is for reasons like this you can justify having an unregistered still in your possession. If you purchase a still from us in the past (when reporting was required from us) you may eventually receive a letter from the TTB informing you of the law, or at least the parts they want you to be aware of, and to let you know that they know you have the still.

It should also be known that the U.S. government does issue lower cost permits for the personal production of ethanol fuel. This however is targeted at farmers and a permit will not be issued for distilling ethanol in your home nor does this include any beverage alcohol. The Hobby Distiller's Association is currently engaged in a lobbying effort to legalize hobby distilling for personal consumption. We invite you to visit their site
( and join the cause. Together we can regain a liberty that was taken from us in the past.