Originally Posted by cowain
What makes distilling illegal in the states?
Specifically, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Practically I imagine it's a combination of leftover-Prohibition prudishness, health concerns, and pressure from commercial distillers.
An individual can legally distill in the US, but it's hardly worth the hassle. You have to get a permit from ATF, the equipment they limit you to is virtually useless, you're only allowed to distill a small amount annually, and I believe you have to pay taxes on what you do distill.
However, I generally get to sample moonshine 2-3 times a year so the ATF probably has bigger fish to fry, like internet cigarette sales!