Laws for Stills and Homesteading

The laws regarding Homesteading, Home Brew, Home Wines, and Home Distillation can be confusing. So to help you stay in the clear, this page is dedicated to FAQ's regarding the legality of various projects.

Homebrew & Winemaking

OREGON STATUTE PERMITTING HOMEMADE BEER, WINE, MEAD, HARD CIDER, ETC.
Status: Permitted
 Statute: Oregon statute Title 37 Chapter 471 §471.037 and §471.403

471.037 Homemade beer, wine and fermented fruit juice exemption from liquor laws. (1) As used in this section and ORS 471.268:

      (a)(A) “Financial consideration,” except as provided in sub-paragraph (B) of this paragraph, means value that is given or received directly or indirectly through sales, barter, trade, fees, charges, dues, contributions or donations.

      (B) “Financial consideration” does not mean any of the following:

      (i) A tax deduction or credit for donating beer, wine or fermented fruit juice to a nonprofit organization.

      (ii) An event admission charge or club or organization dues, if the amount of the admission charge or dues is independent of the amount of alcoholic beverages to be provided or consumed at the event or through club or organization activities.

      (iii) A prize awarded at a state or county fair or other organized judging, tasting, exhibition, contest or competition at which consumption of a submitted beer, wine or fermented fruit juice is without charge and only by the entrants, submitters, judges, exhibitors, contestants or competitors.

      (iv) Homemade beers, wines or fermented fruit juices made by other persons.

      (v) Beer, wine or fermented fruit juice ingredients.

      (vi) Wages and salaries paid by an educational organization for teaching brewing, winemaking, fermentation science or fermentation processes.

      (b) “Homemade” means made for noncommercial purposes.

      (c) “Noncommercial” means not dependent or conditioned upon the provision or receipt of financial consideration.

      (2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, the Liquor Control Act does not apply to the following:

      (a) The making of homemade beer, wine or fermented fruit juice, if the total of beer, wine and fermented fruit juice produced during a calendar year does not exceed:

      (A) One hundred gallons in a household having one person who is 21 years of age or older; or

      (B) Two hundred gallons in a household having two or more persons who are 21 years of age or older.

      (b) The keeping, storage or transportation of homemade beer, wine or fermented fruit juice.

      (c) The possession of mash, wort or wash, for the purpose of making homemade beer, wine or fermented fruit juice.

      (d) Except as provided in ORS 471.268, the noncommercial consumption at any location of homemade beer, wine or fermented fruit juice.

      (3) Subsection (2) of this section does not exempt any person from ORS 471.410, 471.430 or 471.432. [2011 c.12 §2]

471.268 Homemade malt beverages and wines at licensed premises. (1) In addition to any other privilege granted to a licensee under this chapter, a licensee may conduct an organized judging, tasting, exhibition, contest or competition of malt beverages and wines produced under ORS 471.403 (2) and (3) or homemade beers, wines and fermented fruit juices, or related events, at the premises described in a full or limited on-premises sales license, off-premises sales license, brewery-public house license, brewery license, winery license or warehouse license of the licensee. However, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission may restrict the portion of the licensed premises that may be used for the judging, tasting, exhibition, contest, competition or related events and may restrict or prohibit sales of alcoholic beverages on the portion of the premises that is being used for conducting the judging, tasting, exhibition, contest, competition or related events.

      (2) In addition to any other privilege granted to a licensee under this chapter, a licensee may allow malt beverages and wines produced under ORS 471.403 (2) and (3) or homemade beers, wines and fermented fruit juices to be stored at the premises described in a full or limited on-premises sales license, off-premises sales license, brewery-public house license, brewery license, winery license or warehouse license of the licensee. The malt beverages or wines and the homemade beers, wines or fermented fruit juices must be clearly identified by owner and kept separate from the alcoholic beverage stock of the licensee.

      (3) A licensee may not acquire any ownership interest in malt beverages and wines produced under ORS 471.403 (2) and (3) or homemade beers, wines or fermented fruit juices stored under this section. However, this subsection does not prohibit a licensee from using malt beverages and wines produced under ORS 471.403 (2) and (3) or homemade beers, wines or fermented fruit juices in conducting an organized judging, tasting, exhibition, contest or competition of the malt beverages and wines or homemade beers, wines or fermented fruit juices, or related events, if the malt beverages and wines or the homemade beers, wines or fermented fruit juices are stored with the licensee for that purpose. [2011 c.12 §3]    

 

471.403 License required to produce alcoholic liquor; exception. (1) Except as provided in this section, a person may not brew, ferment, distill, blend or rectify any alcoholic liquor unless licensed so to do by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

      (2) The holder of a brewery-public house license or a brewery license may allow patrons to brew malt beverages not to exceed 14 percent alcoholic content by volume if the brewing is conducted under the direct supervision of the licensee or employees of the licensee. Malt beverages produced under this subsection may not be sold by the patron.

      (3) The holder of a winery license may allow patrons to make wine if the winemaking is conducted under the direct supervision of the licensee or employees of the licensee. Wine produced under this subsection may not be sold by the patron.

      (4) A person may make homemade beer, wine and fermented fruit juice as authorized under ORS 471.037. A person may provide assistance to another in making the homemade beer, wine or fermented fruit juice, if the person does not receive financial consideration as defined in ORS 471.037 for providing the assistance. [Formerly 471.205; 2007 c.414 §1; 2011 c.12 §4]

Special Provisions

The Oregon homebrew statutes are highly detailed spelling out specifically what can be done with homemade beer, wine and cider. Activities authorized by the Oregon statutes include donating homemade beer, wine and cider to non-profit organizations; charging admission for events where homebrew is served; charging dues for homebrew club membership; awarding prizes for homemade beer, wine and cider competitions; receiving pay for teaching homebrew classes.

The definition of "homemade" as "noncommercial" means there are no limitations on where homemade beer, wine and cider can be made, so long as the maker does not receive any financial benefit for the beverages he/she makes.

Oregon homebrewers are subject to the same annual production limits as the federal statutes.

The Oregon statutes specifically allow for establishments licensed under Title 37 (breweries, wineries, restaurants and bars) to host events such as club meetings or competitions where homemade beer, wine and cider are served.

State Alcohol Beverage Control Agency Oregon Liquor Control Commission
9079 SE McLoughlin Blvd.
Portland, OR 97222-7355
Phone: 503.872.5000

Distillation of Spirits

IT IS 100% ILLEGAL IN USA, to produce liquor for consumption without proper licensing.
Stills are not illegal, it's what you do with them that can be.

(ttb.gov)
Distilled Spirits Contacts

TTB desires to maintain a high level of communication with industry members, trade associations, State governments, and other Federal agencies.

For information regarding alcohol fuel, non-beverage products, industrial alcohol, specially denatured alcohol, and tax free fuel, please view the information on the Other Alcohol pages.

Spirits Permits, Distilled Spirits Plant (DSP) or Alcohol Fuel Plant (AFP)

If you have questions regarding permits, applications, bonds, tax payments, etc., you may contact the National Revenue Center.


FEDERAL LAWS REGARDING DISTILLATION OF SPIRITS FOR FUEL.

FAQs Distilled Spirits FAQs - Answer

S1: How do I convert bottles of distilled spirits in metric sizes to U.S. gallons?

Conversion tables for computation of taxable quantity of spirits, wine & beer


S2: What is proof, and how do I figure the proof gallons of distilled spirits?

What is proof?

Proof is a method of measuring the alcohol content of spirits. You calculate the proof of a spirits product is by multiplying the percent of alcohol by volume by two (2). For example, a spirits product that has a 40% alcohol content by volume is 80 proof [40 multiplied by 2 = 80]. f?

Converting U.S. gallons into proof gallons for tax purposes:

1. Multiply U.S. gallons by the percent of alcohol by volume.

2. Multiply by 2.

3. Divide by 100.

Sample calculation:

1. 100 U.S. gallons x 40% alcohol by volume=4000

2. 4000 x 2=8000

3. 8000/100= 80 proof gallons


S3: I've seen ads for home distilling equipment in catalogs ("turn wine into brandy," "make your own essential oils"). Is it legal to buy and use a still like that?


Under Federal rules administered by TTB, it depends on how you use the still. You may not produce alcohol with these stills unless you qualify as a distilled spirits plant (see earlier question). However, owning a small still and using it for other purposes is allowed. You should also check with your State and local authorities - their rules may differ.

A still is defined as apparatus capable of being used to separate ethyl alcohol from a mixture that contains alcohol. Small stills (with a cubic distilling capacity of a gallon or less) that are used for laboratory purposes or for distilling water or other non-alcoholic materials are exempt from our rules. If you buy a small still and use it to distill water or extract essential oils by steam or water extraction methods, you are not subject to TTB requirements. If you produce essential oils by a solvent method and you get alcohol as a by-product of your process, we consider that distilling. Even though you are using and recovering purchased alcohol, you are separating the alcohol from a mixture -distilling.


S4: What requirements are there for people who sell stills?


Under regulations in part 29 of title 27, Code of Federal Regulations, TTB has the right to require manufacturers of stills to give us the name and address of each customer. If we choose to impose this requirement, we inform the manufacturer of the stills by letter.


S5: How can I use distilled spirits in an industrial product or process without having to pay the excise tax?


The Internal Revenue Code provides three methods for doing this.

  1. Spirits that are denatured (i.e., treated with substances to make them unsuitable for human beverage consumption) may be used free of tax by a person who holds an industrial use permit. However, no permit is needed to use completely denatured alcohol or an approved article made from denatured spirits. Denatured spirits are suitable in a wide range of industrial applications, from mouthwash to fuel, etc., but not in products for internal human consumption, unless the spirits are removed.
  2. Persons such as research laboratories, hospitals, universities and government agencies may use un-denatured tax-free alcohol if they hold an industrial use permit. Un-denatured tax-free alcohol is prohibited from use in the manufacture of any product for sale.
  3. Un-denatured distilled spirits on which the tax has been paid may be used in the manufacture of medicines, medicinal preparations, food products, flavors, flavoring extracts, and perfume; and then drawback may be claimed. This drawback is similar to a refund; however, the drawback rate is $1 per proof gallon less than the applicable tax rate. The Government keeps the difference. For further information on using distilled spirits in any of these ways, please contact the TTB National Revenue Center at (800) 398-2282.


S6: How do I obtain a "student permit" to demonstrate alcohol production for a school science project?


Have you heard about the science fair project or school project where a student:

  • Builds a homemade still,
  • Lets leftover food scraps ferment and turn into alcohol,
  • Burns the alcohol in a lantern, and
  • Compares the alcohol to other sources of energy?

A. Under current law and regulations, we cannot allow you to conduct experiments involving distillation of alcohol at your home.

As an alternative, Federal law allows us to issue a permit for an alcohol fuel plant (AFP). Under this type of permit, experiments with alcohol fuels can be conducted at locations properly qualified with TTB.

Here's what you need to do to qualify:

  • An authorized representative of your school (a teacher or other school official) must complete and forward an application form 5110.74 to us to establish a small AFP at your school.
  • The experiment must be conducted at your school under appropriate adult supervision.
  • The school official must tell us how long the experiment will last. They may allow for additional time in case your experiment is selected for additional competition or display at a regional or area science fair.
  • The school official must describe the adult supervision that will be provided. We require this because we are concerned about the safety of children handling hazardous materials and using distillation equipment with alcohol even with adult supervision.

These steps apply primarily to students who are in elementary through high school. Make sure your application is filed as soon as possible to allow enough time for us to process it. You cannot begin the experiment until we issue you a permit.

Application form 5110.74 and additional information are available from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, National Revenue Center, Spirits Unit A, 550 Main Street, Room 8002, Cincinnati, OH 45202-3263. You may also contact us by phone at (800) 398-2282 or (513) 684-7150, or via e-mail.


S7: May I produce spirits for my personal or family use without paying Federal excise tax and filing Federal paperwork?


You may not produce spirits for beverage purposes without paying taxes and without prior approval of paperwork to operate a distilled spirits plant. [See 26 U.S.C. 5601 & 5602 for some of the criminal penalties.] There are numerous requirements that must be met that also make it impractical to produce spirits for personal or beverage use. Some of these requirements are paying special tax, filing an extensive application, filing a bond, providing adequate equipment to measure spirits, providing suitable tanks and pipelines, providing a separate building (other than a dwelling) and maintaining detailed records, and filing reports. All of these requirements are listed in 27 CFR Part 19.
Spirits may be produced for non-beverage purposes for fuel use only without payment of tax, but you also must file an application, receive TTB's approval, and follow requirements, such as construction, use, records and reports.


S8: Am I permitted to label my product with a specialized farming term to show my compliance with or concern for environmental initiatives and movements?


A description of specialized farming practices generally may appear on alcohol beverage labels as additional information provided it is truthful, accurate, specific, and does not conflict with, or in any manner qualify, mandatory labeling information. However, due to the constantly evolving nature of this field, TTB reserves the right to request clarification and documented verification of any graphics, seals, logos, definitions or language appearing on labels. For instance, any label specifically stating that the producer is certified by an agricultural organization must have documented proof.

Terms that refer to the environmental impact of the process and packaging rather than the product itself are usually acceptable. These words and phrases may not modify mandatory information on brand labels, but might appear as additional information after review on a case-by-case basis.