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Federal And State Distillation Laws

Can a Still be Legally Owned According to Federal Law?

According to federal rules, stills of any size are legal to own if not being used, nor intended to be used, to produce alcohol. In other words, if a still is only being used to filter water or make essential oils, and these actions do not involve the distillation of alcohol, a still of any size is legal to own.

In order to be fully compliant with laws pertaining to operating a still for the production of consumable alcohol, one would need a Federal Distilled Spirits Permit. Distillation equipment can also be legally used to produce fuel alcohol if the owner possesses a Federal Fuel Alcohol Permit.

Read the actual federal statutes regarding distillation equipment here: 27 CFR Part 29, Subpart C - Stills.

Can a Still be Legally Owned According to State Laws?

In additional to federal rules and regulations, there are also state-specific laws. State regulations on distilling vary greatly, state by state. We have not compiled detailed information on state distillation laws. Please search the statutes in the particular state that you live in to determine the whether or not it is legal to own and operate distillation equipment and whether not doing either will require a permit.

When is a Still Illegal to Possess?

It is illegal for individuals to produce alcohol for consumption without proper permits. The only permit that allows for production of distilled spirits for consumption is a commercial federal distilled spirits plant (DSP) permit. Federal law provides no exemptions for the production of distilled spirits for personal or family use.

Additionally, as mentioned above, state laws apply to the ownership and operation of distillation equipment. Rules on distillation vary from state to state, but in general, it is illegal to produce alcohol for consumption or for fuel, on the state level, without proper permits. Make sure to review your state's laws for rules on the ownership and operation of distillation equipment before purchasing parts from us and manufacturing a still.

TTB Reporting Requirements

The federal TTB requires that anyone who manufactures distillation parts or complete distillers keep sales information. They also have the authority to make distillation equipment manufacturers report this data. We have been told by the TTB that we do NOT have to report customer data at this time.

Additional Legal Mumbo Jumbo From Our Lawyers

Regarding  state and Federal laws: All State statutes and regulations are subject to existing Federal law; some States expressly make their licensing process subject to the applicant having obtained the necessary Federal permits or licenses and subject to Federal reporting requirements and other States do not; such Federal requirement, if they apply to the situation, would still be in effect regardless whether the individual State law made reference to them.

Additional information regarding State and Federal distillation law: The information, provided on this website, was gathered through online research. It should be noted that statutes can be amended, modified or even repealed, at any time  and often there is a significant delay before the amendments and modifications are shown online. In addition, many of the license and permit fees, listed above, are subject to change by the licensing board or agency, and the updated fee changes can also take substantial time to be posted online. When applying for particular State license or permit, or when paying a State licensing or permit fee, or when relying on other information contained herein, a detailed check of the State’s records for updated information is suggested (See below).

The information gathered is primarily directed toward the legality of stills and distillery equipment, and the availability of licenses or permits for their use, and no detailed research was made, nor references are given, as to other requirements that a State may make after a license or permit is issued, such as annual report filing, tax payments, bond or license renewals, deadlines, inspections, etc. When applying for particular State license or permit, or when paying a State licensing or permit fee, or when relying on other information contained herein, a detailed check of the State’s records for updated information is suggested (See below).

The information, data and references, set forth above, are provided for informational purposes only are not intended to be relied upon by any person, or entity, as a legal basis for any act or decision whatsoever. None of the information provided above is intended to give specific legal advice to any person, or entity, residing in any specific State. Any person desiring to obtain, or make application for, any of the Licenses or Permits described above, or to own, possess, buy or build a still or other distillery equipment, should, prior to obtaining, or making application for, any such License or Permit, or owning, possessing, buying or building a still, or other distillery equipment, obtain the services of an attorney located in such State and have said attorney search that State’s records for updated and current statutory authority, existing tax and licensing regulations and other information. 

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