illegal to distill alcohol?!
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To James Redmond- that's what I'm talkin' 'bout! Give that man 10 pts, and free drinks on the house... "Do not talk about what a good man is, but be one." -Marcus Aurelius (emperor of Rome and opium smoker).
To answer your question, distilling is not illegal it is just taxed and regulated to the point of making it impossible to do legally on the household level. That is a subtle trick often played when we legislate morality or usurp personal freedoms.
This was not always the case, there was indeed a time in this land when a household could distill as need be without restriction. The Scots-Irish and other ethicities came here to escape persecution, including unfair taxes regarding stills and distillation. But like most governments, the U.S. government started taxing distillation to raise revenue.
As soon as we formed our government, our founding fathers taxed commercial distilleries. Of course their definition of "commercial" was anything a little bit bigger than the ones they owned... Washington's still was only in production for a few years, but was highly regarded for the quality of the whisky. Samuel Adams was a huge maker and advocate of applejack (distilled cider). He rightfully thought it should be the drink of our nation. It is sad to think we have completely forgotten what it is.
The first tax on home stills started shortly after the american revolution ended to pay for the war debts. Alexander Hamilton levied this tax, which was hugely unfair to farmers who lived by bartering goods and services, because it demanded the tax in cash payment, which the farmers did not have. Whiskey could reduce 10 bushels of corn into one keg and retain the same value. One keg could be transported through the roadless mountains to market, 10 bushels of corn could not and was perishable as well.
This tax triggered the whiskey rebellion, and retired president George Washington was called upon to lead the army in putting the rebellion down. He lead our army against the Scots-Irish of western Pennsylvania. These Scots-Irish were the fiercest and most loyal fighters of the revolution and Washington's favorite troops. He had often hand-picked them for his forces during the war, and now the blackguard Hamilton forced Washington to march upon them with the full might of the government.
The rebellion was quashed and the Scots-Irish immigrated south and west to remain beyond the control of the federal government, pioneering this entire continent in order to live their lives and distill their whisky as free men.
After that, every conflict, skirmish, and war triggered another hike in the alcohol taxes, which all pretty much remain in place today.
Disregard for the alcohol laws and the illegal distillation of liquor for personal use is a long and proud history, as long as it is not confused with the industrial organized crime syndicates that arose and gained power during prohibition through the mass production of illicit booze.
Defiance to lead a life of freedom is honorable. Crime and bloodshed for profit and power are not. Make sure you know who is making your shine and where the money goes (the same is true for all your illegal indulgences). Better yet make your own. Takin' control of your life in your own hands is a good feeling, I highly recommend it.
I believe that in some area's you can actually distill up to 200 gallons per year for personal use but under certain circumstances. I believe you have to get permits and pay some taxes in order to do so. making beer and whiskey (among other spirits) is pretty laborious and requires alot of equipment if you want to do it right, but on the other hand wine is cheap and easy to make. You can go two routes on this one, cheap or expensive. Cheap is buying grape juice, bakers yeast, sugar and fermenting the grape juice at room temp. Expensive is actually buying the grapes and wine making yeast but its still reasonably priced. I believe that Distilling your own alcohol was mainly outlawed during the prohabition era (passed and repealed by the 18th and the 21st amendment).
Ohh and FYI, don't thumb's down people's comments b/c they are right or you want the best answer. You can look up everything i said and its the truth. 200 gallons may be in some regions but you can in some states/counties distill your own alcohol with the proper paperwork and equipment.
You can make your own for personal use but cannot sell it and there is a limit on how much you can make in a year. You can find blueprints for stills by looking up ethanol alcohol fuel additives but use some common sense on using food grade parts
Buy a still online and drink as much as you want. Anyone comes over and start bitching give them a few bottles. Since when is the law the reason you shouldn't do anything?
Prohibition I think