Distilling at home, is it legal?


The whisky scene as a whole is shrouded in myths; Older means better. Bourbon can’t be produced outside of Kentucky. It is illegal to distil at home. That last myth simply overstates the process that is required to be able to legally distil at home.

Although you can brew delicious beer at home with no licence and you could even previously buy the kits at Kmart, because of the Distillation act of 1901 you must have a licence to distil spirits at home. Let me expand on this ‘licence’.

First of all, to own a still over 5 litres even if it is just for display or non-spirit distilling purposes, you will need to fill out an application for permission. This is an online form that can be found on the ATO website. This is required to purchase, sell, move, display, basically touch a still. 

To distil spirit at home though you will need an Excise Manufacturers Licence. This is essentially a licence that allows you to distil and pay excise tax on any spirit that you distil. Great! This form can also be completed relatively quickly online through the ATO website.

Unlike beer and other alcohols even if you have produced the sweet ‘Aqua Vita’ of whisky at home for personal use only, you will still need to pay excise on the spirit. To work out how much you will pay is entirely another article, which you will conveniently find here: www.travellingwhiskyreviews.com/2019/05/07/why-is-it-so-bloody-expensive/

Now this does sound all too hard and complex but it really is only a small amount of time and effort to be able to own and beautiful whisky centrepiece or even start playing around with distilling at home. 

If you are looking for a still look no further than www.alembics.co.nz who make amazing stills just across this ditch. If you mention you are a friend of TWR they will also look after you with a discount. Enter TWR2019 at checkout to receive 10% off. 

Happy Distilling!


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