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Distillation Index

Distillation Legalities

USA and Canada

It is illegal in most states to own a still but a Water Distillation unit is readily available from Sears through their catalog services. 

In the states, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (B.A.T.F.) is the federal agency that governs laws enforcement of distillation. Each state will have its own Alcohol Law Enforcement agency to deal with compliance. Local law enforcement could have their own laws regarding distillation.

In conversations that I have had with agents from different agencies (state, federal and local), I most cases I have been told it is illegal to distill alcohol even for personal consumption. Local agents were less knowledgeable than state or federal agents. To my knowledge, it is not illegal to own a distillation unit that can be used for distilling water and extracting essential oils such as in the production of perfumes, candle making, soaps etc.

In talking to the agents, I have been told that enforcing laws concerning home production are not a high priority and that the average law biding citizen could easily avoid detection and prosecution by using simple logic.

  • limit awareness by friends and family members
  • NEVER sell it under any circumstance
  • NEVER give it to any one
  • NEVER transport it

This is not meant to be an encouragement to violate any federal, state or local laws but merely to state the laws and enforcement as I know them. Legality is the most asked question concerning distillation as it should be and each person should research the question of legality and enforcement for themselves and evaluate the risk and rewards.

Bottom Line: The risk far outweigh the rewards so home distillation of alcohol is not something I would recommend.


It is legal to own a still under 5 liter capacity as long as it is for either either water purification or essential oil extraction. 

NOTE: It is illegal to own a still larger than 5 liters; therefore, shipments of the 25 liter Essences Extractor could be confiscated by Customs. It is the responsibility of the purchaser to know the laws and we will not be responsible for confiscations by customs.

New Zealand, Switzerland and Italy

It is legal to own a still and 25 liter stills appear the most common size. Click here for full instructions on distilling with a 25 liter Reflux still.

The rest of the World

NOTE: It is the responsibility of the purchaser to know the laws and we will not be responsible for confiscations by customs.

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