« on: October 23, 2010, 12:38:40 PM »
If you look at the home distiller forums you will see that those who are making whiskey in places where home distilling is legal, are making distilled mash beverages that they consider to be equal or better than whiskey that they purchase. However, they are not constrained by producing whiskey to legal standards, i.e. 3 years aging in oak barrels, maximum proof limit for aging, etc. Certainly there are those who enjoy following the traditional methods, but as with homebrewing, ingenuity makes for some interesting and creative hobbying.
From what I see on those forums, home distillers are pretty much the same as homebrewers when it comes to their equipment; many build their own, and many purchase theirs, legally, from homebrew/home distiller suppliers right here in the US. One supply store located in the Denver area operates legally and in the open. Their staff is very knowledgeable and helpful.
The first half of distilling is homebrewing. When home distilling becomes legal (I think when not if), homebrewers will be leading the way. The state of craft distilling is very much now like the state of craft brewing 20-30 years ago.
We as homebrewers take pride in being rebels of a sort. We like to think out of the box and explore our creativity. It is very surprising to me that many homebrewers have such an unfavorable idea of distilling. If that attitude had been directed at homebrewing, we would still be brewing in secret with a can of PBR malt extract, 10 lbs of sugar, and bread yeast - fermented in plastic garbage cans.
As far as people giving homebrewing the gimlet-eye, when I encounter that attitude I take it as a challenge and an opportunity to educate the unknowing on what a great, and legal, hobby homebrewing is.