Under Federal rules administered by TTB, it depends on how you use the still. You may not produce alcohol with these stills unless you qualify as a distilled spirits plant (see earlier question). However, owning a small still and using it for other purposes is allowed. You should also check with your State and local authorities – their rules may differ.
A still is defined as apparatus capable of being used to separate ethyl alcohol from a mixture that contains alcohol. Small stills (with a cubic distilling capacity of a gallon or less) that are used for laboratory purposes or for distilling water or other non-alcoholic materials are exempt from our rules. If you buy a small still and use it to distill water or extract essential oils by steam or water extraction methods, you are not subject to TTB requirements. If you produce essential oils by a solvent method and you get alcohol as a by-product of your process, we consider that distilling. Even though you are using and recovering purchased alcohol, you are separating the alcohol from a mixture -distilling.
S5: How can I use distilled spirits in an industrial product or process without having to pay the excise tax?
The Internal Revenue Code provides three methods for doing this.
- Spirits that are denatured (i.e., treated with substances to make them unsuitable for human beverage consumption) may be used free of tax by a person who holds an industrial use permit. However, no permit is needed to use completely denatured alcohol or an approved article made from denatured spirits. Denatured spirits are suitable in a wide range of industrial applications, from mouthwash to fuel, etc., but not in products for internal human consumption, unless the spirits are removed.
- Persons such as research laboratories, hospitals, universities and government agencies may use un-denatured tax-free alcohol if they hold an industrial use permit. Un-denatured tax-free alcohol is prohibited from use in the manufacture of any product for sale.
- Un-denatured distilled spirits on which the tax has been paid may be used in the manufacture of medicines, medicinal preparations, food products, flavors, flavoring extracts, and perfume; and then drawback may be claimed. This drawback is similar to a refund; however, the drawback rate is $1 per proof gallon less than the applicable tax rate. The Government keeps the difference. For further information on using distilled spirits in any of these ways, please contact the TTB National Revenue Center at (800) 398-2282.
You cannot 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 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 suitabletanks and pipelines, providing a separate building (other than a dwelling) and maintaining detailed records, and filing reports. All of these requirements are listed in27 CFR Part 19.
“Washington already allows people to make their own beer and wine, so I think allowing them to produce, consume and even sell modest quantities of distilled spirits should also be allowed,” Sen. Marr said.
The bill 6292
creates a new entity, “Craft distillery”. According to the bill, a “Craft distillery” means an establishment that produces within Washington twenty thousand gallons or less of spirits per year using a pot still
and in which more than fifty percent of the raw materials used in the production are grown in Washington.
The license is $100, which should make it very easy to open a craft distillery. While the bill introduced by Sen. Marr does not apply to homebrewers, it might open the doors for home distillation
in the future.
The bill also states the “use of purchased neutral grain spirits shall be prohibited by a craft distillery unless those neutral grain spirits are made in Washington state”. The purpose of the bill is to encourage the use of local agricultural products.
The first thing to appreciate is that the law on home distillation is based on a completely false premise, a false premise resulting from misinformation fed to politicians and civil servants. They are seldom chemists, biotechnicians or chemical engineers and cannot be expected to be knowledgeable on a technical subject, so they simply parrot what has been handed down to them by previous generations. However, the advent of the Internet enable you and millions of people like you worldwide to understand the subject of distillation so well that you can no longer be fobbed off with myth, folklore and childish superstition.
What is this mythology and folklore and what are the facts? We’ll deal with them individually and in point order.
Distillation makes a particularly strong and virulent type of alcohol so must be controlled.
Distillation doesn’t make alcohol. It never has, never will, and is incapable of doing so. This is worth repeating distillation doesn’t make alcohol.Alcohol is made by fermentation, a perfectly harmless pursuit as millions of beer- and wine-makers will testify.
Distillation produces stronger alcohol (this is true), and the stronger the alcohol the more likely it is to affect your health and lead to drunkenness and unruly behavior (this is the myth). Therefore it must be controlled.
Alcohol strength is irrelevant. It is the quantity of alcohol consumed which matters, witness the fact that 85% of people pulled over for drinking and driving have been drinking beer, not spirits. The same goes for the hooliganism at sporting events so common in Europe —the fans drink can-after-can-after-can-after-can of 5% beer until the quantity consumed adds up to a large amount of alcohol. (This is not meant as a criticism of beer-drinkers, we love beer,—–it merely points to the irrelevancy of alcohol strength.
Making it legal for amateurs to distill spirits at home would lead to a loss of sales by commercial distillers, the laying-off of employees, and loss of tax revenue to the government.
To be cynical about it, a potential loss of tax revenue is a very powerful motivating force with governments and the most likely reason for the ban on home distilling. The fact is that in New Zealand, in the years leading up to the lifting of the ban (1996) sales of spirits had been steadily declining. The same is true of many other countries. But in New Zealand, as.soon as amateurs were free to distill their own spirits there was an immediate rise in commercial sales. (And also a rise in tax revenues of course).
The reason for this surprising turn of events is attributed to the upsurge in interest in spirits which occurred as soon as it became a hobby. It was no longer a remote commercial enterprise but something for fun-loving youth and hobbyists to get their teeth into.
The realization that
Despite the fact that Americans expect gas prices to rise this year, fewer cite gas prices as a top economic concern than in 2008, when they reached similar levels, according to two Gallup polls released March 10.
Twenty-seven percent of Americans expect that gas prices will reach $5 or more a gallon this year and another 37 percent anticipate prices to reach $3.75 to $4 a gallon. Only 8 percent of those polled thought gas prices would only rise to $3.75 a gallon. On average, those polled expected a 91 cent increase in gas prices this year. That increase is 36 percent higher than the 2008 Gallup survey on the same subject, partly a reflection of the fact that the survey was conducted earlier in the year than last year.
The poll, which was conducted March 3 to March 6, found that Americans paid an average of $3.45 a gallon at the gas pump. The U.S. DOE’s reported average price for the week that ended March 7 was $3.52. In all, gas prices have increased 75 cents in the past year, Gallup said.
The surge in gas prices has also come up in Gallup polls asking about the most important problem facing the economy today. As gas prices have gone up in the last month, the percentage of Americans mentioning gas prices has gone from 1 percent to 6 percent. That’s actually a low percentage compared to the 17 percent that cited gas prices as the nation’s top problem in April 2008, three weeks after gas prices exceeded $3.50—at that time a record high. By June 2008, 25 percent of Americans said gas prices were the top concern as pump prices topped $4 for the first time. “Gallup’s ‘most important problem’ trends suggest that Americans’ top-of-mind concern about gas prices will continue to mount as prices edge higher, but isn’t likely to surge above 20 percent until prices set a new record, which would be something over $4.11,” Gallup said.
The results of two other Gallup polls released in March show that U.S. oil drilling is gaining favor with Americans and that, although many still favor expanding alternative energy sources, the majority feel development of U.S. energy supplies should trump environmental concerns when the two are at odds.
A March 14 poll showed that support for U.S. offshore drilling increased from 50 percent in May 2010 to 60 percent nearly a year later. A total of 46 percent opposed it last year while only 37 percent oppose it this year. “Last year’s finding was recorded about a month after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the U.S. Gulf Coast that resulted in a massive oil spill,” Gallup said. “News of that incident has faded, possibly lessening Americans’ resistance to coastal area drilling. At the same time, recent turbulence in the Middle East has caused oil prices to rise and has sparked discussion about the stability of the United States’ foreign oil supply.”
The poll also shows that 49 percent of Americans favor opening up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration. This is up from 43 percent support when last measured in 2008. In addition, it’s the highest level of support since the question was first asked in 2002.
A March 16 poll shows that 50 percent of Americans feel the U.S. should put the development of its energy supplies at a higher priority than protecting the environment when the two goals are at odds. From 2001 through 2008 Americans showed a clear preference for protecting the environment but that attitude began reversing in 2009.
Development of alternative energy sources is still a priority for Americans, however. A new question on this year’s poll found that 66 percent preferred developing alternative energy such as wind and solar power as the preferred approach for addressing energy concerns and only 26 percent choose production of more oil, gas and coal. Biofuels were not mentioned as a source of alternative energy in the poll question.
Ethanol is the only commercially viable alternative to oil today, pointed out Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol. The alternative fuel is growing in supply and is more efficient, cost-effective and clean than oil. “I wouldn’t quarrel with those that want to drill for more fossil fuel in the U.S., but it is important for the American people to understand that the days of ‘easy oil’ are over,” he said. “In other words, future oil supplies, whether drilled offshore or inland, are going to be more difficult to reach, more expensive to drill and refine, and more environmentally harmful.”
Growth Energy said that allowing the U.S. EPA to move forward with E15 would ease gas prices for consumers, create jobs for Americans and reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. “Every day, oil is getting costlier, riskier and dirtier to extract,” said Stephanie Dreyer, Growth Energy public affairs associate. “Before we resort to more, potentially dangerous drilling, we recommend first that we lift the artificial barriers that prevent more homegrown ethanol from entering the U.S. fuels market.”
“Drill, baby, drill is a bumper sticker, not an energy policy,” said Matt Hartwig, communications director for the Renewable Fuels Association. “We need to encourage more investment and continued innovation in ethanol production to replace even greater quantities of oil. The Earth only has so much oil. Once its gone, that’s it. We must begin to take the hard but necessary steps to give Americans more control over their energy future and that means investments in renewable fuel technologies like ethanol.
How may people do you think are making there own ethanol at home these days? The number is rising quickly. I think as we see the rising cost of our gasoline going up the demand for Ethanol is going to grow. If you live in a rural community it is very easy to get into making your own fuel. Let me know your opinion about making your own fuel.
Have you every thought about distilling at home but you’re not sure where to start or how to learn? You need to head on over to the homedistiller.org website and click forums. You will find more information there than you ever dreamed possible and it is all free.
There are more and more people interested in owning their own moonshine stills. However. it’s important to know and understand your state laws.
My ole buddy Mulekicker is about ready to let us check out his new digital controller. I think it will be pretty sweet. Keep watching — he is working on it now and getting it perfected. We are hoping it will be available to the public very soon. Stay tuned folks..
Hey everybody, I am a first time blogger here. Have you ever thought about home distilling? It can be a very rewarding hobby. It only takes a little research and before you know it you can be making your own moonshine. You can obtain a permit from the TTB for making ethanol as long as you never let it leave your property, you can make your own spirits.
The link for this permit is at the bottom of this post. You can also go to www.homedistiller.org for lots of great information. I would also encourage you to come and visit my website at hillbillystills.com.
Let me know if your interested in the distillation of alcohol or ethanol for fuel. I supply many Micro distilleries from the Gand Caymans to Puerto Rico.
In all honesty, I am just a country boy from Kentucky that has always been a tinkerer. I wanted to come up with a better distillation column than was currently offered for the home distillerGuess what I did? Myself and a good friend from Australia named Micheal Calcott developed the column I call the Amazing Hillbilly Flute. It is a all copper plated column. Basically we scaled down a commercial distillation column for a hobby sized still. I works amazingly well. Like I said come by and check us out. I look forward to reading your comments.
TTB Form for making ethanol