Home Brewing now legal in all 50 states for the first time since Prohibition!


As of July 1st 2013! Now get out there and exercise your right to use science to get hammered in your own garage!



Is there a home distilling association? That is clearly the next battle to be fought.


yeah, i don’t know. i’d wager that’s a harder one to organize, since it’s not legal anywhere in the US. Regardless, i’d love to see it.


Get the yeast allergy community on the job.


It’s a little more challenging with distilling than with beer or wine making because distilling is up against some pretty common and pretty strong fears (either real or imagined) that brewing isn’t. With distilling, you have folks afraid that there’s going to be still explosions and fires in their neighborhoods and people that are worried about people drinking moonshine that’s toxic and going blind. With beer, with the lousiest, least safe, least sanitary,stupidest home brewer in the world, the worst case scenario pretty much is that they end up tasting some pretty rank tasting beer.

I think because it’s been so illegal everywhere so long and so infrequently practiced even under the radar that there’s less cultural familiarity with it,too. Even in places where it was restricted, folks knew people they could identify with who crafted some neato homebrews. The people you thought about when you thought about home beer and wine makers were cool people who who were into exotic stuff and wanted to craft an artisan product in tiny batches with great love and care and a spirit of sciencey adventure. They were beer nerds and hop snobs. What many people are exposed to in the world of unlicensed distilling aren’t that kind of artistic creative boutique distilling kind of cool folks. They’re the hicks in the backwoods making shine out of a little mash and a lot of pure table sugar so they can pump it out quick and cheap. They’re turning out gallons of fiery rough white dog. They’re not the kind of person turning out the kind of product that’s an easy sell for most folks to get excited about supporting. The cool people who want to distill something nifty in the same spirit as the homebrewers have to somehow do a better job letting it be known what they are doing or want to do without getting themselves arrested. That’s tough. Especially because theirs doesn’t carry the same profit motive as the big back woods moonshiners. Those guys are in it for profit. So it’s worth it to them to do what they do and serious legal trouble. It’s not nearly as worth it for the young professional with the nice day job who wants to make an amaranth based mash blackberry wine cask aged whiskey.


Something I think would go a long way toward drumming up more support for home distilling is more licensed small boutique local distilling. Even while it’s a tough sell to get people on board with letting folks just set up stills in their garages and basements, it might be an easier first step to make it way easier for businesses to get licenses to do distilling for on-site consumption. If people can go to hip local restaurants or bars and experience some inspiring exotic small batch liquors, they might be more interested in making some stuff on their own at home and less afraid of having stills in their neighborhood.


I’m from California so I’ve actually never met any backwoods shiners. I do however know several people who have very small copper stills that make some pretty interesting stuff (distilled two buck chuck is oddly delicious). And I live near wine country which produces so much wine that we don’t know what to do with it. If we were in France, those wine distillers would be making brandy or eau de vie with their leftovers and hopefully, eventually, we’d get some master blenders making something akin to Cognac.

As long as it remains difficult to get a license though even for people on farms miles away from the nearest other house, even for non-commercial consumption, we’re not likely to build up a big enough talent pool to produce anything better than bad moonshine.

It’s a darn shame.


I’m from Arkansas, so yeah, the experience and stereotype here might be different than in your neck of the woods. We have dry counties and no alcohol on Sundays and such here still.

You’re totally right. It’s one of those self-perpetuating problems. As long as next to know one can try their hand at home distilling or tiny scale distilling, it’s hard to build a community of experts and enthusiasts to back the movement and dispel the misconceptions and lead the way for the new folks.


Small distilleries? We’re doing that in Michigan. Our beer brewer’s guild has been leading the charge.


We have had a big surge in local distilleries here in the Seattle area as well, as recent laws have been relaxed to make distilling possible as a business. There is some pretty good stuff too.

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