In 1978, the home-brewing of beer or wine for personal use was legalized for all adults. Of course, we don’t all have the same definition of what constitutes a reasonable amount of beer or wine for personal use and not for sale! Therefore, of course, regulations were put in place as to the maximum amount of beer or wine you can produce at home for your own personal enjoyment.
Before you read on, note that despite the dishonest information you will find on websites providing instruction on distilling your own liquors, or trying to sell you kits for stills, it is always illegal to distill your own alcohol at home.
How Much Beer Can I Brew at Home Legally?
If you are an adult, which on the federal level means 18 or older, you are allowed to brew up to 200 gallons of beer per calendar year IF there are two or more adults residing in the household. If there is only one adult (which would be YOU), you can brew up to 100 gallons of beer per calendar year. It is very important to realize that state regulations may differ and, especially, that many states may require a higher minimum age. If this is the case, the federal law does NOT exempt you from the state requirement. If your state says you have to be 21, for example, you have to be 21.
The law also defines what an “individual” is. I.E. a corporation, although it may be called an “entity” is not an individual, therefore a corporation may not produce beer or wine for personal or family use. The same thing goes for partnerships or associations.
There are no taxes that need to be paid on beer produced at home for personal use. As well, if you operate a legal beer brewery for commercial purposes you are allowed to remove some beer from the premises and take it home for personal or family use without paying taxes. The amount that is allowed to be brought home is the same as can be brewed: 100 and 200 gallons, respectively depending on the number of adults in the household.
How Much Wine Can I Make Legally?
Well, you guessed it, it’s the same amount as for beer. An individual adult can make up to 200 gallons of wine a year for personal use if there are two or more adults in the household. And you can make up to 100 gallons per calender year if there is only one adult. Again, an adult, as to the federal requirements, is an individual 18 years of age or older, but individual states may differ.
However, adults operating a Bonded Wine Premise may, as an individual owner or in partnership with others produce wine AND remove it from the premises for personal or family use. Basically, this means if you own a legal wine distillery business, you are allowed to remove some of that wine for your own personal and family use free of tax. You must recorded the quantities removed for personal or family use on TTB F 5120.17, Report of Bonded Wine Premises Operations. (Sec. 201, Pub. L. 85-859, 72 Stat. 1331, as amended (26 U.S.C. 5042))
A potentially confusing aspect of these regulations is the term home use or household use. Does this mean that you are not allowed to remove home-produced beer or wine from your home and bring it elsewhere to be consumed?
Can I Transport Home-Brewed Beer To Other Places for Drinking?
You cannot, of course, take your home-brewed beer anywhere to sell it, even if to other family members, or to any event. However, you CAN remove home-brewed beer from your home and take it to organized affairs, exhibitions, home-brew contests, home-brew tastings or judging, etc. If you own a legal brewery and you remove more than the maximum amounts of beer from the premises for these or any other reasons, it is considered a taxable removal.
Can I Transport My Homemade Wine To Other Places for Drinking?
The regulations for removal of homemade wine are similar as for beer. You can remove and transport your wine to organized affairs, exhibitions, or competitions such as home winemaker’s contests, tastings, or judgings. If you are a bonded winery operator, and you remove more than the maximum amounts of wine from the premises for these or any other reasons, you must pay taxes on it.
See http://www.ttb.gov/faqs/alcohol_faqs.shtml for more information.
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