At 09:45 PM 07/28/2006, you wrote:
>I am very interested in starting my own distillery for personal use
>but I may want to venture into starting my own business... Any info
>anyone has would be greatfully excepted.. I am in the US so if anyone
>has a clue on how to deal with the ATF that would be great also.
If you want to drink it yourself, the simple way to do it is to get a
permit to distill less than 10,000 gallons of ethanol for fuel, and divert
a little for your own consumption, or just forget about it and distill for
your own use illegally.
Wine and beer can be made for home use (up to 100 gallons/year), but
distilling, even for home consumption, is a different matter. You can ONLY
make fuel alcohol, nothing for consumption. Everything you distill must be
You don't have to denature it until it leaves your premises, but you must
be able to demonstrate that you have a way to poison it before it leaves
your premises. Simply mixing gasoline in with it will do the trick.
Of course it's illegal to be drinking what you're distilling as fuel, but
so long as you're only drinking it yourself, at the place where it's being
made for fuel, you'd be pretty hard to catch at it.
Carrying it around to parties, and (especially) selling it, puts you into a
If you got a fuel permit, and if the ATF made a surprise visit to inspect,
it probably wouldn't be a good idea to have some of your fuel sitting
around aging in oaken kegs or barrels, or gallon jugs with toasted oak-chips...
Mostly, I hear that the ATF doesn't make any unusual efforts to arrest
small home-moonshiners because it costs so much in time and materials to
make moonshine that it's a losing proposition to be out trying to compete
with major distilleries selling it... they have things so efficient that a
moonshiner winds up working for less than minimum wage if he's trying to
sell at competitive prices.
From what I understand, the fuel permits aren't hard to get, so long as
you have a stillhouse that's separate from your residence, and not too
close to anyone else's house, either.
If you're making it on your kitchen stove, a permit isn't going to be
forthcoming, for saftey reasons. Also, the permit DOES alert ATF that you
might need the occasional surprise inspection.
If you own your own business, and use your ethanol in your company
vehicle(s), OR if you sell E85, you can get tax breaks, meaning that the
government will essentially pay you to use your still.
You just need to line up a few friends with E85 cars to sell your output
to. Someone was also telling me that the USDA had a website that told about
tax breaks, etc. you could get from distilling fuel alcohol.
If you want to start a serious micro-distillery, specifically making
whiskey for sale, I've seen recent discussions on the subject on the
Distillers (vs New_distillers) forum, talking about it costing between
$100,000 and $600,000 for initial equipment and permits (mostly equipment).
These guys are talking in terms of thousands of gallons per year, all of it
for sale as consumable whiskey, though.
You aren't going to make a living by visiting www.brewhaus.com and buying
one (or more) of their Pro Extractors, then sellling the output.
Look at it this way...
A 375ml bottle of Ezra Brooks 92 proof, costs about $7 in a liquor store.
It will cost you a dollar, simply for the bottle, and a liquor store
probably pays someone about $3.50-$4.00 for that bottle of liquor.
Considering that you're hopefully making a superior product, so your stuff
is selling for $10.00 per 375ml bottle, that will mean that a liquor store
is paying you about $5.00 per 375ml bottle.
The bottle itself is costing you over a dollar (with shipping), before you
ever get into the cost of printing the labels, getting sealable caps and
equipment to seal them, and actually making the whiskey (Mash & Propane
When you look closely at all of those costs, and the time/labor involved
for a $10.00 pint of liquor that gives YOU $5.00, you begin to understand
why ATF isn't all that worried over you selling your output... it's a loser.