Without having done an actual survey, we’d estimate this holds true for 99% of other meaderies as well. As for breweries, it’s probably above 90%.
How about for these new craft distillers that are popping up around the country? 0%. None. Not a single one has ever, ever practiced at home. Or, at least, that’s what the government says.
Unlike brewing beer, wine, sake, cider, and mead, hobby distilling was never made legal after it was outlawed during prohibition. Homebrewing itself was finally legalized in 1978 by Jimmy Carter, though the very last state got on board a year ago when the Alabama legislature got around to passing a bill a mere thirty-five years after they were supposed to.
Now, ask a layperson and you’ll usually hear things like, “can’t moonshine make you go blind?” Or, “doesn’t it explode a lot?” The short answer to both of these questions is “NO!” The long answer is, “NO! I hope your 9th grade chemistry teacher is rolling in her grave, you uneducated nincompoop!”
For a much more polite long-form response, we highly recommend reading This FAQ Page.
We are not, nor have we ever been home distillers. We’d love to be, but if you saw last week’s Ask the Meadmaker then you know that we’ve had sufficient hobbies and jobs to keep us busy.
We are supporters of hobby distilling for three reasons:
- The anti-distilling crowd is relying on bad science and outdated information. You know that we dislike nothing more in this world than bad science and outdated information.
- Without our years of experience, test batches, botched batches, etc. we would never have been able to open Groennfell Meadery, and it seems a damn shame that other entrepreneurs are being held back by the aforementioned bad science.
- Recently, there has been a crackdown on hobby distilling, which is just plain stupid. Maxim just wrote an article about it as well.
Someday, several of us would love to make whiskey at home, but that’s not why we’re officially coming out in support of the Hobby Distiller’s Association. We support hobby distilling because it is safe, fun, and only illegal because of confusion and prejudice.
Please head over to HDA's website, www.hobbydistillersassociation.org, or to their Facebook Page and give them a like. We all did.