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Home Distilling Bill in House of Representatives

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gruntingfrog

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House Resolution 3949 has been introduced by Rep. Stupak from Michigan. This would expand home brewing/winemaking laws at the Federal level to include distilling. The individual states would have to then pass their own laws, but it opens the door. I drafted the following letter to my Representative who happens to be on the Ways and Means Committee where the resolution will be discussed. I chose to highlight the benefits to the industry, instead of just saying, "I wanna make whisky. Can I? Can I?" :D

If you would like to see this go through, please feel free to use this letter as a template to send to your Representative.

Here are some links to help.

Members of the House Committee on Ways and Means
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/committee.xpd?id=HSWM

Write Your Representative - Insert state and zip code and it will allow you to send email to the correct Rep.
https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtml

Dear [REPRESENTATIVE],

H.R. 3949 introduced by Rep. Stupak of Michigan is currently in the House Committee on Ways and Means, and I hope you have time to consider the economic benefit this bill would provide to the spirits manufacturing industry.

The craft/micro beer industry in the United States has seen immense growth over the last 30 years, bringing competition, jobs, and quality products to an industry which had remained stagnant for decades. This has occurred simultaneously with a dramatic increase in the popularity of "home brewing" made legal in 1978 with the passage of 26 USCS § 5053(e) exempting taxes on the manufacture of small amounts of beer for personal use.

Home brewing does not stifle sales in the beer industry or reduce the tax revenue from beer manufacture. On the contrary, the small scale and cost of home brew batches (typically 5 gallons) allows for experimentation and innovation which is cost-prohibitive on a large commercial scale. This innovation benefits commercial brewers who often take the popularity of certain styles and techniques among the home brewing community as preliminary market research allowing commercial breweries to produce new beer styles known to have revenue potential. Additionally, the growth of small commercial breweries is directly attributable to home brewing as many micro-brewers learned their craft in a home brewing environment before opening their own commercial brewery.

H.R. 3949 would provide the same dramatic benefits to the spirits industry by allowing the home manufacture of distilled spirits in small quantities for personal use. I hope you see that this would be a boon to the industry and consumers providing the opportunity for similar growth and improvement in spirits as we’ve seen in beer manufacture over the past 30 years.

Thank you,

[YOUR NAME]
[YOUR CITY/STATE]
 

Thirdeye

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Well, do the states even have laws on the books regarding distilling? I mean if it was already covered by federal law...
 

beala

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I'll have to read the bill more closely, but I'm pretty sure I'll be drafting a letter ASAP. Now if only we can get them to do away with the drinking age too...
 
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gruntingfrog

gruntingfrog

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Thirdeye said:
Well, do the states even have laws on the books regarding distilling? I mean if it was already covered by federal law...
The Federal piece of the current homebrewing laws pretty much just says that you aren't subject to federal liquor taxes/permit requirements if you produce small amounts of beer, wine, cider, or mead at home for personal use. It leaves the ultimate call of "legality" up to the state. Homebrewing beer or wine is still illegal in Alabama, for example.
 

SwAMi75

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Even if it did pass, it would never be legal in OK. We can only buy 3.2% swill in any place besides a liquor store. :rolleyes:

I will say some prayers, though. I've really had the itch to try distilling lately.
 

eriktlupus

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SwAMi75 said:
Even if it did pass, it would never be legal in OK. We can only buy 3.2% swill in any place besides a liquor store. :rolleyes:

I will say some prayers, though. I've really had the itch to try distilling lately.
+1... it's all BP's fault tooo
 

Thirdeye

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SwAMi75 said:
Even if it did pass, it would never be legal in OK. We can only buy 3.2% swill in any place besides a liquor store. :rolleyes:

I will say some prayers, though. I've really had the itch to try distilling lately.
Ok, so yeah, we're all law abiding citizens here and would never condone breaking the law, but suppose, hypothetically, one were to distill in his or her dwelling, illegally, whater we looking at here? Misdemeanor or felony?
 

fretman124

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Thirdeye said:
Ok, so yeah, we're all law abiding citizens here and would never condone breaking the law, but suppose, hypothetically, one were to distill in his or her dwelling, illegally, whater we looking at here? Misdemeanor or felony?

In Oregon, it a federal offense, followed up by sate charges.

However, I have a few friends and acquaintances in law enforcement, and to a man, they are not going after anybody distilling their own likker. Now, if a person was to start selling a few hundred gallons a month, thats a different story.

But for the guy that makes a gallon or two (typical home batch size, finished product), gives some to friends and drinks the rest, they will look at him as hard as they do the guy that grows a couple plants for his own use.

Steal a bunch of guardrails and use the money from that to cook some meth, you're gonna have problems.
 

Brewpastor

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Well, this is nice. I wonder what chance this has of passing given our MADD culture. I will send a letter, and start polishing up on my knowledge. This could be a lot of fun!

I do think it is time to start DAMM (Drinkers Against Mad Mothers). And before you you take offense, know I lost a brother to a drunk driver. But that is off topic.

Letter sent!
 

jds

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I sent a letter too, although Tom Tancredo isn't on Ways and Means. I edited a bit too.

Dear Representative Tancredo,

H.R. 3949 introduced by Rep. Stupak of Michigan is currently in the House Committee on Ways and Means, and I hope you have time to consider the economic benefit this bill would provide to the spirits manufacturing industry.

The craft/micro beer industry in the United States has seen immense growth over the last 30 years, bringing competition, jobs, and quality products to an industry which had remained stagnant for decades. This has occurred simultaneously with a dramatic increase in the popularity of "home brewing" made legal in 1978 with the passage of 26 USCS § 5053(e) exempting taxes on the manufacture of small amounts of beer for personal use.

Home brewing has not stifled sales in the beer industry or reduced the tax revenue from beer manufacture. On the contrary, the legalization of home brewing beer led to experimentation and innovation which is cost-prohibitive on a large commercial scale. This innovation led to a resurgence of the craft beer industry, which was long-dormant. Today, 30 years after legalization of home brewing of beer, Colorado is one of the nation's leading states in the craft beer industry, with over 90 independent breweries in operation in the state.

H.R. 3949 would provide the same dramatic benefits to the spirits industry by allowing the home manufacture of distilled spirits in small quantities for personal use. I hope you see that this would be a boon to the industry and consumers providing the opportunity for similar growth and improvement in spirits as we’ve seen in beer manufacture over the past 30 years.

I am aware that you are not a member of the Ways and Means committee, where H.R. 3949 is under consideration. However, I hope you can take the time to let your peers on the Ways and Means committee know how your constituents feel about the proposed measure.

Thank you,
Joe Skaggs,
Littleton, CO
 

adx

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Just an FYI, this bill has been killed in the committee in the past two Congresses. Hopefully, it can go through this time, but it looks like it will need a major push.
 

sflcowboy78

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beala said:
I'll have to read the bill more closely, but I'm pretty sure I'll be drafting a letter ASAP. Now if only we can get them to do away with the drinking age too...
I also think we should try to get them to pass a bill that allows use to grow other crops at home for personal use. ;)
 

Brewpastor

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sflcowboy78 said:
I also think we should try to get them to pass a bill that allows use to grow other crops at home for personal use. ;)
Yes, I still don't understand why I can not grow my own tomatoes.
 

shafferpilot

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Well, brewpastor we just need you to start a religion that heavily involves cerimonious consumption. Freedom of religion and all......
 

HenryHill

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sflcowboy78 said:
Tomatoes???? so that is what you call it??:D
YEAH, that is what it is called. :D

God put that stuff here, and told us to use what we wanted. "whatever it takes, it doesn't matter".

I think He is really just more concerned about how we treat each other. At least that is what I was told in a very prophetic dream with someone I could not see and did not recognize by voice. Actually never saw ANYTHING in this dream and it was long and detailed. When I asked, I was told it was someone I never met and that was all he would say.

Not saying who this guy was, just that a LOT of extremely specific things came true in this dream, and there seems to be some divine intervention of some sort.

I suspect it was a much older deceased relative-sorta what the Indians use to believe....and yeah I AM sober and straight-drug free to be exact.
 
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gruntingfrog

gruntingfrog

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Brewpastor said:
Well, this is nice. I wonder what chance this has of passing given our MADD culture.
As somebody who knows people that work for the MADD National Office, I can tell you that most of the people there are not prohibitionists (there are a couple, but luckily they don't have any real power). Most of them just want to stop people from driving when they've had too much to drink.

My wife and I go out to bars with a few of them every once in a while. Everybody is responsible, but nobody is screaming, "You had three beers over the last 3 hours! Give me your keys!"

adx said:
Just an FYI, this bill has been killed in the committee in the past two Congresses.
That's exactly why I'm posting this here and a few other places on the web. It gets shot down because our Representatives don't know that it actually matters to any of their constituents.
 

HenryHill

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gruntingfrog said:
It gets shot down because our Representatives don't know that it actually matters to any of their constituents.
Not don't know, don't CARE.

There's no money to be made, so what's in it for them? :mad:
 

Kai

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It's about time they got rid of that law. Home distilling is safe. And delicious. I've tasted it, and someday I might try it.

Probably the powerful spirits types aren't a big fan of this (just like AB isn't a big fan of good beer), and unfortunately Prohibition-era scaremongering has public opinion on their side. It'll take a few more years.
 

Homercidal

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Have looked into distilling before, and I think it's still a bit troublesome for me. However, had I serious interest, no law would stop me from refining bit, just for the fun of it. I dont' drink hard liquor. Don't care for it, hurts me bad (ok, I'm a wuss, whatever), but the process is interesting, and that's usually all it takes to get me into a new hobby.

The amount of stuff it takes to get a bit of liquor is daunting.
 

Lanfox

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Sending letter

If this passes it will start the next evolution of the spirit industry. :rockin:
 

Donasay

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The home brew shop near me sells "essential oil extractors" they put them on the floor right next to a shelf with the books on distilling "for informational purposes only." The funny thing is that one of the books has a picture of a still on the front and the still looks a lot like the "essential oil extractors" they sell at the home brew shop.
 

MikeFlynn74

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As somebody who knows people that work for the MADD National Office, I can tell you that most of the people there are not prohibitionists (there are a couple, but luckily they don't have any real power). Most of them just want to stop people from driving when they've had too much to drink.

My wife and I go out to bars with a few of them every once in a while. Everybody is responsible, but nobody is screaming, "You had three beers over the last 3 hours! Give me your keys!"
BULL****- The original head of MADD left the group after she said "they have lost their way" Now they are trying to go after .06 then it will be .04 and then zero tolerance. They are zelots with nothing better to do.
 

MikeFlynn74

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Homer
Have looked into distilling before, and I think it's still a bit troublesome for me. However, had I serious interest, no law would stop me from refining bit, just for the fun of it. I dont' drink hard liquor. Don't care for it, hurts me bad (ok, I'm a wuss, whatever), but the process is interesting, and that's usually all it takes to get me into a new hobby.

The amount of stuff it takes to get a bit of liquor is daunting.
Distilling is way easy- Easier and quicker than beer.
 

TCHDNSD

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gruntingfrog said:
My wife and I go out to bars with a few of them every once in a while. Everybody is responsible, but nobody is screaming, "You had three beers over the last 3 hours! Give me your keys!"
I have attended "alcohol education classes", and what they teach is, every "normal" beer will contribute .02% BAC. Your body will burn .02 % alcohol per hour. Theoretically, if you drank 1 beer per hour you should have a BAC of 0%. By those same numbers, if you drank 5 beers in one hour, you should have a BAC of .08%. (.02 x 5 = .10 - .02)
Not only is 5 beers in an hour uncomfortable (unless you're in HS or college), there is no joy in it.

MADD is in it for the money. DUI arrests are to create a revenue stream. It is sad that people are killed by "drunk" drivers.
In my jaded view of the world, everything comes down to the money.


(end hijack)
 

CBBaron

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TCHDNSD said:
I have attended "alcohol education classes", and what they teach is, every "normal" beer will contribute .02% BAC. Your body will burn .02 % alcohol per hour. Theoretically, if you drank 1 beer per hour you should have a BAC of 0%. By those same numbers, if you drank 5 beers in one hour, you should have a BAC of .08%. (.02 x 5 = .10 - .02)
Not only is 5 beers in an hour uncomfortable (unless you're in HS or college), there is no joy in it.
(end hijack)
2 things I just learned by doing some research about the stats you just cited.
1. It is very seldom that I would be considered impaired to drive in the US. I seldom drink more than 2 beers in an hour and even though these are usually much stronger than 4.5% at 220# I should be safe from a test.
2. Most countries with less restrictive drinking laws have much tighter driving standards. Germany and France both have 0.05% limits.

On topic. Distillation is complicated because you either have to buy small expensive stills and lie about their use or make you own. This is all due to being illegal in the US. If it were legal to home distill, stills would be larger, less expensive and easily available along with the instructions for their use in alcohol distillation. Ofcourse you probably could still make a better still for less but it does open up the market for less handy individuals to make their own.

Craig

Craig
 

CBBaron

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Just checked. My representative is on the committee, however I doubt that is good news for the bill, but I did send a note of my support for it any ways.

Craig
 

Don

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I actually got a response from my Congressman..
--------------------
Dear Don,

Thank you for contacting me with your views on H.R. 3949. I appreciate your comments, and I welcome this opportunity to update you on the status of this legislation.

As you may know, in 1978 Congress lifted the federal ban on home brewing beer and wine for personal use. Meanwhile, the prohibition on distilling spirits was kept intact, meaning amateur distillers can face both prison time and large fines. On October 23, 2007, Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan introduced H.R. 3949, which would repeal the prohibition on producing distilled spirits in specified locations, including houses, sheds, yards, and other enclosed areas. Shortly after its introduction, H.R. 3949 was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill is currently going through the committee process, and it may change substantially before I have a chance to vote on it. As a result, I hope we can continue our dialogue as this legislation progresses through the legislative process.

Thanks again for taking the time to share your views with me. I need your input to make the best decisions possible, so please stay in touch!

Sincerely,

Brad Ellsworth
 

Jesse17

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Don said:
I actually got a response from my Congressman..
--------------------
Dear Don,

Thank you for contacting me with your views on H.R. 3949. I appreciate your comments, and I welcome this opportunity to update you on the status of this legislation.

As you may know, in 1978 Congress lifted the federal ban on home brewing beer and wine for personal use. Meanwhile, the prohibition on distilling spirits was kept intact, meaning amateur distillers can face both prison time and large fines. On October 23, 2007, Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan introduced H.R. 3949, which would repeal the prohibition on producing distilled spirits in specified locations, including houses, sheds, yards, and other enclosed areas. Shortly after its introduction, H.R. 3949 was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill is currently going through the committee process, and it may change substantially before I have a chance to vote on it. As a result, I hope we can continue our dialogue as this legislation progresses through the legislative process.

Thanks again for taking the time to share your views with me. I need your input to make the best decisions possible, so please stay in touch!

Sincerely,

Brad Ellsworth
Wow! That's just amazing! I didn't know congressmen knew how to respond personally like that. I've never got anything other than a blanket form letter "Thanks for your comments..." type of response, from any congressman.
 

Jud

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What is the status on this bill anyone know. I am not finding much.
 

itsme6582

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It's long dead. Just like this thread. How did you dig this up? Did you hear something in the news?
 
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