Differences between Brewing & Distilling

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Make sure that you don’t confuse home brewing with distilling, which is very illegal in most states without certain permits and requirements. Again, it’s very important for your peace of mind to check the specific laws in your locality to ensure that you won’t be in legal jeopardy when you begin this hobby. Laws usually vary from country to country or state to state.


Sweden, for instance, allows you to home brew beer as long as you don’t try to sell it and as long as you only use it for personal use.


The United Kingdom does not allow individuals to distill or sell their home brew products; it’s legal to home brew beer or other fermented beverages. Home brewers do not have a cap on how much they can make, either.


Australia allows individuals to home brew their own beverages. The only restriction is that they cannot use a still. If any individual does own a still, its size cannot be larger than 5 liters and it cannot be used for the distilling of alcohol. The only use they may have for a still is to still certain substances like water or essential oils.


New Zealand allows home brewing and distilling as of 1996, when the ban against this was lifted. Individuals cannot distill spirits for their own personal use here, but they cannot sell or supply any alcoholic beverages unless they have the appropriate and correct license to do so.


South Africa allows individuals to manufacture fermented beverages in their home without any limits on the amount. Interesting, though, is that they cannot distill or sell their beverages or give them to any of their staff. The reasoning behind the law regarding their staff is unclear unless it’s a legal issue involving intoxication.


What you will find in most states or countries is that the art of home brewing beer, wine or any fermented beverage is not what is against the laws; rather it’s the sale of these products that’s restricted. In many states, home brewing is not considered in their laws because they are more concerned with the manufacture and sale of hard liquors.


Because home brew is not commercially manufactured and sold, it’s often not included in the statutes and regulations, leaving a lot of “gray area” in the law. Check the laws where you live before you begin just to be on the safe side.

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