kiwistiller wrote:the amount of people prepared to go to the lengths of distilling their own is simply too small to have a big effect on the mainstream liquor industry.
Same thing as with home beer and wine brewing. Noticed the commercial beer and wine industries going broke since home brewing became legal? Nope, me either. The vast majority of people are simply not interested or able to do it, for one reason or another.
I seriously doubt that legalising home stilling would make even the slightest dent in the commercial sector. In fact, if home stilling went legal it might even give the commercial guys a boost because the general interest in spirits might increase from legalising home stilling.
Even if it did make a dent in their profit, so what? Is there some reason the more expensive commercial side must get favourable treatment over the cheaper home made? We don't require people to only eat in commercial restaurants, despite home food preparation being much less regulated (ie more unsafe) than in commercial kitchens. There are a million other examples of home made stuff being legal, including beer and wine, clothing, food, etc, even though there are vast commercial industries making the same product.
As to lost tax revenue. If we don't make a significant dent in the commercial sales, then there is no lost revenue. And indeed, we would be generating additional tax revenue through the legal sales of stilling equipment and supplies. (We already do, to some extent. So how about some return to the hobby on those tax dollars!
Social impact? IIRC, alcohol consumption has been generally rising the world over for decades (with nice profits for the commercial guys). Doubt the authorities can seriously argue that legalising a handful of home stillers is going to affect that. It could be argued that most people who will make their own booze, (spirits, wine and beer) are already doing it anyway, and that the numbers who will take up home stilling after legalisation is unlikely to be great, so legalising it is unlikely to suddenly up the general alcohol consumption rate in the community.
Safety is the only legit concern the authorities can have. If we can show that we can make spirits safely (at least as safely as the commercial guys, and I think we have already done that), then there is no substantive argument left against legalisation. (This is one reason why I push the safety angle so hard on the forums.)
New Zealand's experience of legalised home stilling is now well over a decade old. Commercial booze makers and sellers are still in business, the government is still receiving tax dollars (including from the legal NZ home stilling industry), and NZ society does not seem to have collapsed.
In essence, we only have one case of a country legalising home stilling (and a modern western style democracy at that), and the outcome has not been a bad one.
And have fun.