This is an informational notice to let all the brewers know what is going on in a related but different part of the brewing world. The home beer lovers got a huge boost when Jimmy Carter's brother Bill got caught brewing Billy Beer. Good things happen when your brother is President of the United States.
We know it is legal to brew up to 200 gallons of beer annually (for a 2+ person household). It is illegal however, everywhere but New Zealand, to concentrate the alcohol that is already in the legally brewed beer by running it through a distillation devise. The reason for this discrimination is simple: revenue. The Dukes and Kings of old needed money to finance their wars so they taxed home made booze. Distilling alcohol without a permit is a federal crime under code 26 USC. It is a state crime without a permit in every state but Missouri, Arizona and we aren't so sure about Alaska.
Mine is a story, not about mountain moonshiners selling untaxed liquor by the gallon, these guys are criminals and should be treated as such; but about the home or hobby distiller. The average hobby distiller probably makes less than 10 gallons of spirits a year. It is consumed personally and with friends/ family and neighbors and is NEVER sold to anyone. We don't know how many hobbyists there are in the US, but the numbers are certainly in the hundreds of thousands. With the advent of online sales, still purchases have skyrocketed and are still climbing. Many stills are made at home by following the directions available online and in the many books published on the subject.
There have been write-in campaigns, petitions and lots of ideas about how to legalize Hobby distilling and none have gotten the attention of the lawmakers in Washington DC. We wrote a very sensible and simple proposal last summer that puts the bobby distillers on an even par with the beer brewers and wine makers. I'd love to post it but can't figure out how.
With the help of Rick Morris, owner of Brewhaus Inc. USA, we have started the Hobby Distiller's Association, or HDA. www.hobbydistillersassociation.org
. HDA is being run as a nonprofit, with all of the funds going toward our legislative efforts. We have hired Lobbyit.com to represent us in Congress at a cost of approximately $40,000/year. We hope the bill passage does not take any longer than that but there are no guarantees. I would like to invite anyone who has an interest in distilling, or knows someone who does to join our association. There are several ways to join so check us out. The fee is only $30.00us and goes to help offset the lobbying costs. The site is brand new and only a few weeks old so we still have work to do. Everyone working on the project is a volunteer.
Lastly, comments and ideas are welcome. Volunteers are needed. Thanks for reading.