Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Discussion and plans for legalizing our hobby.

Moderator: Site Moderator

Brewhaus
Swill Maker
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:19 pm

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by Brewhaus » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:27 am

Actually, Tom has been very busy pushing this, but I think that because of the time involved he focused where he got some response. I know that he has been on the Yahoo groups pushing it, although those seem to have really died off. He, of course, has also been pushing it on our forum. Tom also did the work of compiling and keeping updated a spreadsheet of who sent in JB's packet to their congressional representatives, and he is the one that tracked down the lobbyist for us. So, please give him a little bit of slack, as he has been very involved and aggressive in moving this forward. He deserves most of the credit for where this movement is right now. :)

woodshed
Master Distiller
Posts: 2970
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:21 pm
Location: Pagosa Springs,CO

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by woodshed » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:35 am

I am cutting him slack and appreciate his efforts. I was just pointing out the perception he left many of us here with.
I would love to jump to the front of this as I have nothing to lose. But the community here means a lot to me and I am hesitant to endorse a movement I am not 100% comfortable with. I hope you all can change my mind.

Brewhaus
Swill Maker
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:19 pm

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by Brewhaus » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:49 am

I fully understand, woodshed. This is not meant to be a short-lived organization. My hope is that the HDA will become the equivalent of the Homebrewer's Association, but for the hobby distiller. However, we need to get hobby distilling legalized before it can take on such a role. Even legalization will not happen overnight, so hopefully we can settle everyone's concerns over time and you will choose to join us in this fight. We can get this done. I even spoke to my House representative's office yesterday, and they suggested lobbying (they did not know at that time this was already in the works). When I later brought this up I was told that the biggest 'mover of mountains' are numbers- having people contact their representatives. When I mentioned that our lobbyist would have a list of supporters to show our representatives he said that would cover both angles. So, according to my own Rep's office, we are on the best possible path to getting this changed. That is no guarantee that it will happen, but it is our best hope. With that said, the more support for the association, the better our chances.

Sorry... I think that came off like a sales pitch, and it was not meant to.

Prairiepiss
Master Distiller
Posts: 16557
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:42 am
Location: Somewhere in the Ozarks

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by Prairiepiss » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:58 am

How many people are actively participating in the HDA daily functions? Is it just the two of you? Supporters are good. But active participants are much more helpful. As they can concentration their efforts on gaining more supporters. While you spend time doing the others.
It'snotsocoldnow.

Advice For newbies by a newbie.
CM Still Mods
My Stuffs
Fu Man

Mr. Piss
That's Princess Piss to the haters.

Brewhaus
Swill Maker
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:19 pm

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by Brewhaus » Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:10 am

I actually updated the About Us page this morning to give credit to those that are otherwise just in the background, but are the ones that really help to push things forward. We are still getting settled, but are fortunate as people are offering their services to help, so as we need more help we have people willing to do so. Right now I think we are well organized:

Rick (me)- just keep us heading the right direction and contact those on our newsletter list, our retailers, other wholesalers, and deal directly with the lobbyist.

Tom- Promote via hobby distilling forums to help get the word out and hopefully garner support.

Randy & Will- Get the word out regarding the HDA on home brewing and winemaking forums, and compile a list (with e-mail addresses) for homebrew stores in the US. Stores will see a whole new revenue stream if we succeed on this.

Phil- Website design (pretty it up), and do a YouTube interview/video outlining the goals and differentiating us from 'that show'.

Dawn- set up and run a Facebook page to help get the word out. I may not be a social media guy, but I hear that it may become something big some day. :lol:

We have a long way to go, and I am sure that several more duties will become necessary, but we seem to be at least somewhat well organized for the moment.

RandyMarshCT
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 713
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:46 am
Location: Hopkinton, RI

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by RandyMarshCT » Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:36 am

Prairiepiss wrote:How many people are actively participating in the HDA daily functions? Is it just the two of you? Supporters are good. But active participants are much more helpful. As they can concentration their efforts on gaining more supporters. While you spend time doing the others.
I am actively participating. I've spoken to Tom on the phone and I can assure you he is who he says he is and he is very passionate about this, as am I. I'm drafting a flier to bring to home brewing stores. I'm mailing john barleycorn's papers to everyone I know that live in states that have not yet been represented (with paid postage, so they just sign their name and drop it in the mail). I've never spoken to Tom, Rick, or John before I contacted them for this endeavor. They are delighted that they've finally sparked some new interest in this cause. I'm honored that they're letting me help. There's nothing I can say to prove they are or are not who they say they are.

To be honest, I've bought most of my (nicer) gear from Hillbilly Stills. So, I'm on the list. Damage is done for me so my new attitude is, "screw it, I'm going all out." I wish that Mike Haney and the hillbilly stills guys were on board. They're not (so far). Almost nobody is (look at the numbers). Trust me, I know how you guys feel. Up to about 2 weeks ago my biggest concern was what my next wash was gonna be. Now, I had to get rid of all my gear because I'm (basically) going public. Will I quit stilling? Fucking never! Can I have anything to do with it at home or work? Not anymore. That was a tough decision for me to make. This is my favorite hobby.

Last fall I had the honor of getting some reviews on my UJSM. Odin gave me the best and most flattering review I've ever received. I got good reviews from a few other HD members I networked with, some of which I got to meet and befriend. I can't even explain how awesome it was to sample other people's spirits and have them review mine. My friends and family always tell me I make good stuff, but they're my friends and family. When I made shit, they told me it was great. These were people who know more than me about distilling; people I have tremendous respect for. I haven't been able to shake that feeling. I feel like I haven't been that excited since I was a kid. I'll never let it go now. I dream about going to gatherings with other stillers, still builders, and equipment reps. Comparing spirits, learning even more, and having competitions to enter my stuff in. Most of you guys would probably blow me out of the water.... and I'd love it. Maybe some people would hold courses on making specific spirits... the possibilities are endless.

My point is, I'm all in. I'm willing to risk my real name and address. I'm sick and tired of hiding behind a screen name. I completely understand everyone's reservations, especially those who have never bought a commercial rig. But this has to happen... and up to this point, nobody has put their money where their mouth is... except Rick. He's put $40,000.00 where his mouth is, and I'll be damned if I don't do everything in my power to help him. Will there be another time in the future when a lobbyist will already have been paid for, where a guy puts his money and business on the line for this cause, where the exact laws that need to be changed will have been drafted up FOR the lazy politicians already, and where the community doesn't feel imminent danger due to busts happening all over the country?

I think the time is right here. I'm all in. I hope some of you will join us. If not, we'll try and do it without you anyway. I'll let you guys know if I get busted.
Life member, representative, and proud supporter of the Hobby Distiller's Association.

http://www.hobbydistillersassociation.org

RandyMarshCT
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 713
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:46 am
Location: Hopkinton, RI

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by RandyMarshCT » Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:54 am

Here's the flier I made to hand out at my LHBS. Please feel free to leave a pile at yours if they will allow it. The pics are mine of my rig so nobody can give you crap about photo ownership rights. I'm no graphic designer, so it's not that great. Made it in black and white to save expensive printer ink. Since stillers have so much to lose, I'm thinking the home brewing community is where we'll get the most support.

*Edit (03/23/14 - 7:30 am ET) Fixed the flyer. I had spelled "fascinating" without the s.
Attachments
hda draft.jpg
Last edited by RandyMarshCT on Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Life member, representative, and proud supporter of the Hobby Distiller's Association.

http://www.hobbydistillersassociation.org

zacwest52285
Swill Maker
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:58 pm

Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by zacwest52285 » Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:21 pm

I have tried my best to keep up with the threads on the legalization, but to this point have not expressed my views. Not that my opinions will hold much weight but as an interested party these are my thoughts:

In the legalization efforts, has anyone ever really thought about why hobby distilling is illegal? As I over-taxed Americans our first assumption is that it is because the government wants their cut. What about the safety concerns? Time and time again we have new members join who intend on using equipment that is unsafe for themselves as well as consumers of their products. Safety has to be a huge concern. How can we keep hundreds of thousands of people safe, if legalized, when they embark on their distilling journey.

The last thing we want is everyone watching a YouTube video of some bonehead with a still and thinking that he is the model stiller. We all know the damages that can be done if precautions are not taken to prevent people from learning the wrong way.

I think that this battle needs to be fought on two fronts:

First we need to get the backwoods "commercial" distillers on board. As long as someone is mass producing spirits for profit without being legit we will always be viewed in the same light. Sure, I will gladly let them tax me for everything I sell every year ($.00). There are people who make a living at making alcohol illegally. Until that stops our fight will be extremely up hill.

Second, once we can get them to listen, we must prove that we can supply new drillers with proper knowledge to safely produce safe products.

We could propose a system much like that to legally own a gun. Everyone and their equipment must be certified and documented. Send distillers through a class before they can get a hobby distilling permit. Make sure their equipment is safe. Charge them a fee to register each year.

This is not ideal, we should be allowed to distill without monetary gain from our country, we all know that is very unlikely. What I have proposed would be somewhat of a compromise. By document all registered hobby distillers they could check in on some of us.

I am all for the legalization, I will gladly donate under anonymity and would be more than willing to participate in any efforts to make this possible.

Sorry for all the grammatical and spelling errors, ft fingers and an IPhone don't get along well.
Enter witty quote that changes people's lives here.
Fellow newbies, this is a good read http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 32&t=37471

Brewhaus
Swill Maker
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:19 pm

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by Brewhaus » Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:30 pm

Many of the points that you have brought up are covered simply by looking at the data from NZ since 1996. From all of my research, the exact number of documented injuries/poisonings from hobby distilled product is zero. That is the same number as was found for damage to person or property. A legal activity is generally safer because people are more willing to discuss it freely, so better information is easily found. Believe me, this information is being presented to the legislators.

I also believe (although unfounded) that legalizing hobby distilling will actually help to reduce the illegal sell operations. It only stands to reason that if you can make it yourself, or your buddy does, that you are not going to overpay for the crap that the 'moonshiner' is selling. The hobbyist would also be far more likely to point the law man in the right direction to put the 'moonshiner' out of business, as he will, at least in the beginning, be very concerned about losing his right to distill as a hobby, and will protect it by turning in the sell operation if he must.

I proposed 'licensing' the hobby distiller before, but it was suggested that it just created a whole heap more concerns. Besides, hobby distilling deserves to sit alongside hobby brewing and winemaking, and that is all that we are requesting.

zacwest52285
Swill Maker
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:58 pm

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by zacwest52285 » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:13 pm

Let's do it!
Enter witty quote that changes people's lives here.
Fellow newbies, this is a good read http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 32&t=37471

User avatar
S-Cackalacky
Master Distiller
Posts: 5879
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:35 pm
Location: The Dark Corner

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by S-Cackalacky » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:37 pm

Rick, couldn't agree more. We don't need to replace regulation with more regulation. There are more houses explode in this country from natural gas leaks than distillation related accidents.

BTW Rick, I checked your IP address and it would appear that it's legit - that is, it's one of a small subnet assigned to you. Tom's is randomly assigned from a public ISP, so his isn't as clear cut, but I'll take your word that he's who he says he is.

It's good that you've spent some time here reassuring folks and letting us get to know you a bit. I'm softening, but I'm not totally there yet.
S-Cack,
Forum Contrarian

Every new member should read this before doing anything else:

Brewhaus
Swill Maker
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:19 pm

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by Brewhaus » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:54 pm

Don't worry, I'm not offended. It even takes me a while to get my wife to warm up to me... of course, she's had 23 years of me, so she's immune to my charm. :P

blind drunk
retired
Posts: 4848
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:59 am

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by blind drunk » Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:21 pm

I have a question -

are you using the contact list for Brewhaus Canada?
I do all my own stunts

Soggy Bottom Boy
Rumrunner
Posts: 746
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:43 pm
Location: Somewhere to the north of the.. ..Peoples Яepublik of Kalifoяnia

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by Soggy Bottom Boy » Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:21 pm

RandyMarshCT wrote:Here's the flier I made to hand out at my LHBS. Please feel free to leave a pile at yours if they will allow it. The pics are mine of my rig so nobody can give you crap about photo ownership rights. I'm no graphic designer, so it's not that great. Made it in black and white to save expensive printer ink. Since stillers have so much to lose, I'm thinking the home brewing community is where we'll get the most support.
Can you upload it as a higher resolution .pdf in a zipped format? That way it could be printed up in a better quality on a deskjet or laser printer, and could be distributed by members here that might want to do so.
"Well, ......I don't want Fop, goddamn it! I'm a Dapper Dan man!" ...Ulysses Everett McGill

"Good thing you found HD. It's like the mythbusters of distilling." ...Prairiepiss

bellybuster
Master Distiller
Posts: 4490
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:00 pm

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by bellybuster » Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:34 pm

I'm curious how you'll overcome State laws if successful on the Federal level. With the system down there a federal win doesn't help 90% of the folks, it will still remain illegal on the state level.

User avatar
S-Cackalacky
Master Distiller
Posts: 5879
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:35 pm
Location: The Dark Corner

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by S-Cackalacky » Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:59 pm

bellybuster wrote:I'm curious how you'll overcome State laws if successful on the Federal level. With the system down there a federal win doesn't help 90% of the folks, it will still remain illegal on the state level.
I've never really completely understood the federal role in alcohol regulation anyway. The 21st ammendment that repeals the 18th ammendment (prohibition), seems to give authority over alcohol regulation to the states. At this point, it would seem that Missouri and possibly Texas are the only states I've heard of that have relaxed hobby distillation laws.

So, what form will proposed legisation at the federal level take? Does it simply eliminate the TTB's ability to enforce taxation of alcohol at the hobby level? In my state, VA, it's not so much the TTB that I worry about, it's VA ABC. It would seem to me that it would take another constitutional ammendment to circumvent the power already granted to the states under the 21st ammendment. How was this all handled for beer and wine?
S-Cack,
Forum Contrarian

Every new member should read this before doing anything else:

Brewhaus
Swill Maker
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:19 pm

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by Brewhaus » Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:14 pm

are you using the contact list for Brewhaus Canada
We are not affiliated with Brewhaus Canada, so we do not have access to any of their information. There has been no link between the two companies for 12 years.
I'm curious how you'll overcome State laws if successful on the Federal level. With the system down there a federal win doesn't help 90% of the folks, it will still remain illegal on the state level.
Both need to be changed, but even if it is legalized in a state (like it is in MO) it is still illegal federally, and the Fed law apparently is the higher law when there is a conflict. So, if you are in MO you still cannot distill legally, even though it is fine as far as the state is concerned. Just like home brewing, we need to first get the federal law changed, and then work with individuals in states to get those changed. I already have an appointment with my state rep to discuss this.
How was this all handled for beer and wine?
Wine goes all the way back to the end of prohibition. Home brewing was not legalized until 1978 (took effect in '79). That was a federal change under President Carter, and it simply amended the alcohol laws. We are trying to get a similar amendment for distillation. There was a different reason for the change under Carter (shall we say Billy Beer?), so we have a tougher road, but we want to follow a very similar path.

Yes, states are supposed to have control over alcohol regulation, but there is still a tangled mess. The feds said home brewing was allowed, but if the state said no, then it was no. MO says distilling is okay, but the feds say no, so it's no. Regardless, we need to get both laws at both level changed.

woodshed
Master Distiller
Posts: 2970
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:21 pm
Location: Pagosa Springs,CO

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by woodshed » Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:05 pm

Have you had any conversations with ADI in regards to this? Did not find any info over there.

Brewhaus
Swill Maker
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:19 pm

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by Brewhaus » Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:36 pm

I know that Bill supports it, but the question is, how may licensed distilleries will? Most started out as hobbyists, but that is in the past for them now.

woodshed
Master Distiller
Posts: 2970
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:21 pm
Location: Pagosa Springs,CO

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by woodshed » Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:43 pm

As I stated earlier I may. That would be at least one.

Soggy Bottom Boy
Rumrunner
Posts: 746
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:43 pm
Location: Somewhere to the north of the.. ..Peoples Яepublik of Kalifoяnia

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by Soggy Bottom Boy » Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:59 pm

Brewhaus wrote:I know that Bill supports it, but the question is, how may licensed distilleries will? Most started out as hobbyists, but that is in the past for them now.
I don't really see a down side for licensed micro distilling to support this type of thing, as there will still be more than enough demand for their products in the big-picture outlook. Many, I mean lots of people will get involved with trying to home distill if it ever happens to "go legal", but I think that the majority, maybe 90% of them, will give it up in a hurry, as they discover that it is not really their cup of tea and is too easy to fail without substantial research, too time consuming, too much work, too much bother, and too time consuming to make anything worth drinking. .....then they will be back to buying their booze from the craft distillers, or buying their old standby crap at the liquor store, that was their original main source of drink.
"Well, ......I don't want Fop, goddamn it! I'm a Dapper Dan man!" ...Ulysses Everett McGill

"Good thing you found HD. It's like the mythbusters of distilling." ...Prairiepiss

woodshed
Master Distiller
Posts: 2970
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:21 pm
Location: Pagosa Springs,CO

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by woodshed » Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:44 pm

I agree with SB2. From my perspective as a distillery owner I think it makes perfect sense to support hobby distilling.
People that are into making their own are more inclined to support the small time craft distiller as they can relate to the scale easier.
And the curiosity to compare their home made goods to what the crafties are doing is strong. If I buy anything from the store it is almost always from a small distiller. And a sticker on the front door letting the world know you support the cause would be gold in the eyes of many.

From the research I have done today I feel better about what is being brought to the table. Softening as SC said.

I am still hung up on how Tom got his garage as a bonded warehouse. Doesn't add up to me and I have been waiting for an explanation.

rumplestiltskin
Swill Maker
Posts: 322
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 5:25 am
Location: Georgia, Top left corner

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by rumplestiltskin » Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:18 pm

Fascinating not Facinating......on the flier.
Rumplestiltskin


"back home ya fart up the top of the street, by the time ya got to the tree of knowledge yuv shit yourself".. ...thecroweater

varocketry
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 512
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:15 pm
Location: somewhere not near Detroit

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by varocketry » Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:43 pm

RandyMarsh:

Good first draft I think. Keep the home brewer's WIIFM in the forefront of your mind when crafting the ad copy.

I'll ask my neighbor AD Exec to look it over. Can't hurt.


I think it's great of Brewhaus to demonstrate leadership on this effort.
I'd like to see all of us here, collectively, donate some amount for an HD contribution to the HDA in solidarity.
-Just need something else to build. -

Brewhaus
Swill Maker
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:19 pm

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by Brewhaus » Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:05 pm

Thank you, varocketry. But, of course, we need names behind this almost as much as need the funding support for this effort. It certainly is making headway, and I have high hopes. :-)

RandyMarshCT
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 713
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:46 am
Location: Hopkinton, RI

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by RandyMarshCT » Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:08 am

rumplestiltskin wrote:Fascinating not Facinating......on the flier.
Thank you! (edited my original post to add the "s") I still consider this a draft copy. I'm getting some additional help on the flyer. Any suggestion/corrections are very welcome. I'm no designer... I downloaded gimp yesterday and that flyer is the only thing I've ever made.
Life member, representative, and proud supporter of the Hobby Distiller's Association.

http://www.hobbydistillersassociation.org

User avatar
Bushman
Global moderator
Posts: 15349
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:29 am
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by Bushman » Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:03 am

I have returned from vacation and am catching up on past posts. I read this on two other forums and also support the effort although I have not joined or moved on it yet as I am also a bit nervous about exposing myself but would like to find some way to help. I am also attending the ADI conference this next weekend and will keep my ears open for any talk about it at the conference. Tom is there something I can do at the conference to support the effort?

rad14701
Master Distiller
Posts: 20866
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:46 pm
Location: New York, USA

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by rad14701 » Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:57 am

Ad for that flier, I'm a bit concerned that the picture of the flute might confuse common folk who aren't familiar with the advances that home distillation have undergone... Perhaps a more traditional design, or none at all, would be better... Same goes for the alcoholmeter measuring proof... You're shooting over the general publics heads... Think KISS as it relates to your target audience...

woodshed
Master Distiller
Posts: 2970
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:21 pm
Location: Pagosa Springs,CO

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by woodshed » Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:30 am

The flier is a good first draft. My concern with flute shown, and I realize this is your equipment so was easiest to use, is that in the eyes of other manufacturers this may be misconstrued as an endorsement of a specific manufacturer. That could hurt efforts to garner support from the other makers. IMO the meter in the background just clutters up the image. Thanks for putting it together and asking here for input.

User avatar
T-Pee
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 4354
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:20 pm
Location: The wilds of rural California

Re: Legalizing Hobby Distilling in the US

Post by T-Pee » Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:55 am

rad14701 wrote:Think KISS as it relates to your target audience...
Especially since your ultimate target audience is politicians/legislators. They get confused easily. :problem:

tp

Post Reply