Risks of Hobby

Discussion and plans for legalizing our hobby.

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Risks of Hobby

Postby gmm213 » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:58 pm

I figured this would be a good place to ask this question. But I was just wondering everyone's feelings on the risk that goes along with this hobby (at least in the U.S.). I live in VA, a state that makes it illegal to even own a still. I was just wondering if and what some of the worries you guys have when it comes with the law. The reason I ask is I did a google search about my area and I found quite a few larger operations, ones that had to have been for profit, but surprisingly quite a few smaller ones, like small few gallon kitchen ones.
I come from a long line of brewers and distillers both legal and illegal. Have to do the family name proud
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby NZChris » Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:59 pm

I built mine so that when I wasn't distilling, it could be dismantled and it wasn't a still. I made a point of not broadcasting that I had one except to those who helped me build it, and even some of them didn't know. Fifteen years later it was legalized and I no longer had to dismantle it after every run, but I still didn't broadcast that I have one.

I built it sized so that it only had to run about three times every two years. Three or four strips and a spirit run for rum, then a quick neutral the same size if I needed some, then the still was dismantled and spread around the property for another year. I never told the kids what I was up to in a way that they could use to accidentally put my pot on.
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby InglisHill » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:17 am

There is no risk for me, as, I like to point out at every opportunity I get :)
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby BentJar » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:22 am

In the beginning of our country, we were considered outlaws by the British who claimed to own us.
That outlaw spirit has not left the United States, we feel free to do as we please with our goods and
our land. Hell or be dammed, hang or be free.
Sure we don't want to be locked up for making a bit of shine for ourselves but we do it anyway because
we know its right to be able to do so. Americans will fight to the death for the right to do as we please.
The law will always catch up to the will of the people in America. Take the relaxing of pot laws for
instance, we all knew it would soon be lawfull to take a puff if we want to. Same with homemade likker.
Its just a matter of time before we can do that too. legally I mean, The laws concerning whiskey making are flawed
and we know it. The outlaw spirit is what it takes for a change to take place. It will come!
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby gmm213 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:34 am

NZChris Mind if I ask how you built it so it could be broken down so they couldn't tell?
I come from a long line of brewers and distillers both legal and illegal. Have to do the family name proud
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby Danespirit » Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:33 am

Here (Denmark), like in almost the rest of the world, it's illegal.
It's in fact illegal even to own equipment that could be used for distilling.
Why..? Because of the taxes..! :evil:
Those greedy bastards claim 275 Kr for each liter of 100% alcohol in taxes! That would be 40 $.
They haven't listened in scienceclass..so they don't know one CAN'T distill a 100% under normal conditions.
As i wouldn't sell or tell, this risk is to overcome.
Even if the unthinkable should occour , i would only get a fine.
The risks of fire and the like would be more of a concern to me.
So...distilling safely, i hope i never have any accidents.
Besides..distilling in the bathroom, gives me the best fireproof room in the house..and lots of water.
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby kiwi Bruce » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:03 pm

If you are not already, become a homebrewer. Almost all the equipment used in beer brewing can double for "The Hobby" Think hiding in plain sight. A cooling coil for "The hobby" is a wort chiller for brewing. It's easier to hide a pot still (a wort boiler) than a column still, but even this can be managed. I know someone who hide quite a large still in Saudi Arabia when she was on contract with the Government and it was never even suspected. It can be done. Good Luck....Kiwi Bruce
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby bearriver » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:26 pm

I keep my still stuff in the garage. I used to pretend to care when people left the door open but that got old.

Just this morning I had a retired fella with his wife comment my cart in the self checkout lane. Yeast, sugar, tomato paste. The essentials. We had a good conversation about the truth of the matter, after which I sent him here.

Had a BBQ for other members on Sunday... The theme here is that I pretty much just go about my own business and that's that. We all run different levels of acceptable risk.

Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't after you! :twisted:
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby Haus » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:56 pm

I do like to step outside and yell "Revenuers" every now and then to see how many garage doors go down.
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby moosemilk » Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:00 pm

Keeping good neighbors helps as well. While I was out running I brought my neighbor a bottle of dandelion wine I had made (another hobby I picked up...as mentioned earlier, hiding in plain sight). He asked when my cherry whiskey will be ready (made some last year panty-dropper style). He also made up a grappa so he could run it through my still...I'm lucky, blessed with great neighbors.

Use a stainless beer keg and column with tri-clamps if you are they paranoid. Most people wouldn't recognize a keg still with liebig. Even my neighbor who participates didn't know my latest still was a still.

Posted while Hauss was...and damn that's funny! REVENOORS! THEY AH COMIN!
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby wtfdskin » Wed Jul 15, 2015 2:10 pm

I dont talk to people about it. My close friends know and share in the taste testing. I break down after every run but just store it in plain sight. Garage door stays closed while running, exhaust fan clears the air and heat out. Several state police and county sherrif live nearby. They are busy home brewing.

I dont advertise my hobby, but im not gonna go too far out of my way to hide. It's my property, its made for my consumption, and I pay the damn property taxes.

Im a firefighter in a rural area. A car crashed a mile from my house, actively cooking METH while driving up the road. If the popo want to come after me rather than them then so be it. I will take the consequences.
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby Desvio » Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:37 am

Honestly I am not concerned at all, I have brewed and fermented for decades now, hell I had even bought a piece that put me on "the list". I used to keep everything disassembled, covered and hidden, and alas nobody knocked or inquired. Simply put there are far more pressing issues for the law (local or fed) instead of busting the guy goofing around in his garage, they are out to get the ones trying to sell "moonshine" to make a profit, and these types are generally caught with meth or something else that they were originally busted for.

In fact I now keep all my stills and equipment assembled and on display in my garage. After all they are beautiful works of art, and perfectly legal so long as they are "not on a heat source for the purpose of distilling alcohol". So take pride in your equipment, keep it clean and shiny!!!

Remember what you are told "it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease"... Try not to brag or toot your horn too much.
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby thumper123 » Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:40 pm

I had some service people in my cellar once, and one of them said "Holy crap is that a still?" I said it certainly was, and that anyone who trusted their faucet water these days would most certainly go sterile,impotent and crazy, and that anybody with a lick of sense distilled their water.
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby goose eye » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:40 pm

This aint no joke an dam sure aint no game. Round election years
they always lookin photo open. Average person aint got a clue
how much likker you can turn out. Newspaper aint your friend..
chances are you don't tell no one an what you make you tell folks it was
gives to you , probably wont have no issues but if you do
that is on every job application you fill out. You married you
best have the wife on board. Pride will get you caught.

So I'm tole
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby sltm1 » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:52 pm

I realize "stillin" isn't in the Constitution or The bill of Rights, but hot-damn, it's a family tradition in some parts of this nation, and a misdemeanor to boot. I've been guilty of far worse in my lifetime!! I live by the credo, "Don't Tell, Don't Sell", but if I get discovered, I'll just claim I'm a patriotic American keeping the tradition alive, pay the fine, salute the flag and leave with a smile on my face!!
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby shadylane » Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:58 pm

goose eye made some good points, the risks involved are variable and way out of proportion to what we are guilty of.
In my state, the laws are based on the days of prohibition. There's no distinction between a tea cup still or a major moonshine operation. They can take everything, property, automobiles, bank accounts and your freedom.
Then add a fine and back taxes on top of that.
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby Appalachia-Shiner » Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:11 pm

Maybe take the District Attorney a Quart of your best ...
Not that I would ever do such a thang......
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby thecroweater » Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:48 pm

Holy crap what part of Cuba you living in Shady :shock:
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby NZChris » Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:48 pm

gmm213 wrote:NZChris Mind if I ask how you built it so it could be broken down so they couldn't tell?


It was built out of recycled items that you wouldn't have access to, so what I did wouldn't be much help to you.
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby shadylane » Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:09 pm

thecroweater wrote:Holy crap what part of Cuba you living in Shady :shock:

Pick anyone of the southern states of USA, the laws are almost identical.
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby ranger_ric » Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:11 pm

I keep a pile of pipe, both plastic and copper with one ugly ass piece of galvanized hung way up high in the chicken house. Now granted there is the occasional chicken that will get that high up and shit on everything but when I throw the well patina-ed liebig connected with an old lookin union to the riser in the pile of pipe you would never pick it out as a still. That ole lid to the 6 gallon pot with a perfect 7/8" hole in it is just a curiosity, now aint it.
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby gmm213 » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:49 pm

Haus6565 wrote:I do like to step outside and yell "Revenuers" every now and then to see how many garage doors go down.


Bravo :clap:

kiwi Bruce wrote:If you are not already, become a homebrewer. Almost all the equipment used in beer brewing can double for "The Hobby" Think hiding in plain sight. A cooling coil for "The hobby" is a wort chiller for brewing. It's easier to hide a pot still (a wort boiler) than a column still, but even this can be managed. I know someone who hide quite a large still in Saudi Arabia when she was on contract with the Government and it was never even suspected. It can be done. Good Luck....Kiwi Bruce


Great Advice Ill Look Into That

Im in Va and its illegal to even own distilling apparatus. Not sure the consequence but the actual act of distilling is a class 6 felony. Thats 1-5 I believe.
I come from a long line of brewers and distillers both legal and illegal. Have to do the family name proud
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby ranger_ric » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:11 pm

Gmm213
without a quart or two of your "fine" corn based beer in the fridge they (being the gubmint and all) will see right through your sham of just brewing beer.. They write the search warrants and determine what the evidence means for a grandjury or whatever...
So just keep a few quarts of the "corn beer" in the fridge.......
BTW UJSSM (before distillation) served really cold or on ice is a great afternoon drink.
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby StillLearning1 » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:32 pm

Gmm213: don't worry so much! Tickle lives in v.a. too and and if they can't get that guy....well......they shouldn't get you! :problem:
But what the heck do I know.....I am still learning.
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby city shiner » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:56 pm

goose eye wrote:This aint no joke an dam sure aint no game. Round election years
they always lookin photo open. Average person aint got a clue
how much likker you can turn out. Newspaper aint your friend..
chances are you don't tell no one an what you make you tell folks it was
gives to you , probably wont have no issues but if you do
that is on every job application you fill out. You married you
best have the wife on board. Pride will get you caught.

So I'm tole

I agree, I work in healthcare. They pull up 20 years of history and will hire you if: 1) you are qualified, and 2) you seem to be of good moral fibre. That means you get caught doing something as vilified as stillin' you might just need a new career
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby moered » Sat Oct 03, 2015 12:14 am

In my area, some guy got busted for manufacturing to sell. They saw a pallet of bottles in his trailer and got curious. That was two years ago. Before that was about ten years ago or more since anyone was busted. It's generally considered as accepted around here unless you don't get too big for your boots.
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Re: Risks of Hobby

Postby Snuffy-ga » Sat Oct 03, 2015 9:08 am

Where I live they make a big deal of busting the bigger operations. Unless the local beloved sheriff is involved. He has his own 'little' business that a lot of folks know about but never say anything about. Every now and then he hassels the little guys but not lately.

Get a small AFP license. That way you have no unregistered stills. The regs are not to difficult. The biggest thing is having a 100' distance between the house and the distilling area. They were very helpful when I got mine. Almost like they wanted you to have it.
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