Red

Distilling as a hobby - what TBB approval do I need

9 posts in this topic

I asked this similar question awhile back but I am still confused.

I live in Missouri and want to buy a small 10 gallon still (keep it in my basement) to practice some recipes as a hobby. Can anyone provide any help on what I legally need (and how much it would cost if I need a license) to be able to do this? I understand their is a federal TTB permit I need but not sure if there is a different permit since I will be producing for personal use and less than 100 gallons a year. What federal and Missour state TTB permits do I need and how much do those cost? and is that a one-time cost or annual?

Any help you can provide would be great.

-Red

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First, so basically hobby distilling can't legally exist. I am not trying to be a smart allic but then how did anyone who started their own commerical distillery practice/learn about the process/get recipes dialed in before they jumped in and made a big invenstment? I know there is a safety concern with high proof alchohol, but the regs really seem to provide some significant barriers to entery (even as a beginner who wants to learn more about distilling without jumping in head first).

Second, OK I get that you can't have a still in my basement. So if I have an detached garage/workshop what would I need to do to get small still to practice before I have to commit to buying an expensive 50-100 gallon still? Is there a cheaper non-commerial federal permit I can get? In Missouri the state allows something like 150 gallons for personal use.

Again, I am trying to figure out how to learn more and practice distilling on a smaller still and have no interest at this point commiting to getting a permit for a full scale commerical operation. Is there any way to do that or does the fed TTB see it all the same?

Thanks for your help.

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TTB sees everything the same, except for the special experimental permit. But you can't drink the results of that. And you have to pay tax on whatever you make even if you consume it yourself, etc., even if your state allows limited production for self consumption. The TTB does not recognize that as being different than commercial production. The TTB doesn't charge for the license, they tax the product. The state may charge for their permit. And you have to check with the locals as well. In other words, there is no less work to set up a 10 gallon still than to set up a 100 gallon still: same paperwork and requirements for the TTB. The intent is to specifically prevent hobby distilling, ever since prohibition.

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First, so basically hobby distilling can't legally exist. I am not trying to be a smart allic but then how did anyone who started their own commerical distillery practice/learn about the process/get recipes dialed in before they jumped in and made a big invenstment? I know there is a safety concern with high proof alchohol, but the regs really seem to provide some significant barriers to entery (even as a beginner who wants to learn more about distilling without jumping in head first).

Second, OK I get that you can't have a still in my basement. So if I have an detached garage/workshop what would I need to do to get small still to practice before I have to commit to buying an expensive 50-100 gallon still? Is there a cheaper non-commerial federal permit I can get? In Missouri the state allows something like 150 gallons for personal use.

Again, I am trying to figure out how to learn more and practice distilling on a smaller still and have no interest at this point commiting to getting a permit for a full scale commerical operation. Is there any way to do that or does the fed TTB see it all the same?

Thanks for your help.

the way to learn is to pay to go to a distilling class at your local distillery. i had to go from washington state to colorado to take a class that i could afford . you can find a good 2 or 3 day class for about 500 to 1500 bucks. good luck

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Of course many people learn by distilling in their home/basement/garage/separate outbuilding/etc.

Of course you can't get a permit or license to do that (in the U.S.).

Of course people are doing that without a license.

c'est la vie

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