Distillation Alcohol

About Attitudes and Regulation

o you're interested in building a still. In the US (and many other countries) I guess you know that doing that is just not the politically correct thing to do.

Even if you are just a curious person and simply want to know what's involved, you probably feel some reluctance about discussing the subject outside of your own trusted circles.

The reason you feel this way, most likely, is because a lot of laws have been passed over time that severely restrict the ways that you may refine products containing ethyl alcohol.

Most US residents are also quite familiar with the moonshine folklore, high-powered cars running shine over mountain back roads, and dodging the federal revenue agents. So much so that many may feel that they are doing something improper, or maybe even criminal by reading this.

Everyone should follow his or her own conscience in these matters. Personally, I believe that some of these laws are so poorly thought out and implemented that they border on being ridiculous.

A case in point. In the US, the government allows an individual to produce wine or beer for personal consumption by using a fermentation process to produce an alcoholic beverage.

The fermentation process however, produces a wine or beer containing chemicals that are actually poisonous for human consumption. Nevertheless, the government seems to think it is perfectly OK for an individual to ferment and drink the stuff, regardless of the impurities it may contain.

Unbelievably, the US government also makes it illegal for an individual to remove the poisons from the alcohol in the wine or beer by distillation. In other words, it is illegal for an individual to refine a legal beverage in their own home and, in the process, produce another perfectly legal beverage for their own consumption! Figure that one out.

Without much reflection, it is easy to see that such laws are flawed and without foundation in logic, justice, or the common good.

Fortunately, it is not illegal to express these opinions. That freedom also extends to writing about such things as alcohol distillation (legal or not), and the use and manufacture of equipment to effect this process in the home.

So, as long as your conscience allows, at least in the US, you are not doing anything wrong by reading this information. There is also nothing illegal about building a still.

Having said that, recognize that the only purpose of this document is to educate and inform those of you who are interested in this subject. It is not to be construed in any fashion as an encouragement to break the law. If you believe the law is incorrect, please take the time to contact your representatives in government, cast your vote at the polls, write newsletters to the media, and in general, try to make the changes in a legal and democratic manner.

And while it is hoped that the still will always be used for legitimate purposes, if you decide to distill ethyl alcohol then never forget that you are dealing with the law, and to twist an old barb:

"If you can't pay the bill then don't use the still"

Enough said. It's time to get on with more practical things.


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