Is it legal to distill alcohol for own consumption in the U.K?

10 Answers

  • Jon
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favourite answer

    It is legal to brew alcoholic drinks such as wine or beer at home.

    However it is illegal to distill alcohol (a process to extract water and so make a higher concentration of ethanol) without a license (in fact not just a Customs license for tax but also a safety inspection).

    This law exists for several reasons:

    - to avoid drunkenness

    - to avoid illegal sales of home-made spirits.

    - to avoid poisonings due to unskilled still operators accidentally producing methanol instead of ethanol.

    - to avoid danger to the public from explosions (a badly-made or run still can lead to highly flammable alcohol vapour accumulating inside pressurised vessels, which can lead to dangerous explosions).

  • 4 years ago

    Revenue from taxes and safety. It is the distillation process which is regulated and taxed, based on the capacity of the distilling unit. It is the capacity that is taxed, not the actual output by volume. The problem with moonshine (illegally distilled neutral spirits) is quality control. It is really easy to introduce keytones into the mix. It is the contaminants in the alcohol which can be poisonous and what gives you a worse hangover. One of the worst is lead, from soldered pipes with a lead based solder. Worse yet is if a auto radiator is used as the condenser, which not only adds lead but zinc and copper oxides as well. All of which are very bad for your health. Metal poisoning is a hard way to go. That said, who is to know if you make your own still? I've made one out of laboratory glassware that could distill a pint an hour or so. If you use corn (or potatoes) for the mash, you will make neutral spirits, i.e., moonshine. An evaporation still is nothing more than a small heater in a covered bucket inside a bigger covered bucket so vapor condenses on the top and then runs down the sides to collect the distillate in the bottom of the bigger bucket. No boiling happens, just warm vapor which condenses much like condensation on the mirror in the bathroom. If you start with sterilized equipment, and prevent any contaminants from the corn or whatever, you will make very pure moonshine, but in small quantities. Moonshiners who make a hundred gallons or more at a time, have a quality control problem that a commercial brewery and distillery does not have. So, the fed rationalizes the law on taxes and safety when it comes to distilling, but NOT on simple wine and beer which does not have the same risks from contamination.

  • Haggi
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    No it isn't legal to distill alcohol for your own or any one elses consumption without a licence.

  • 8 years ago

    Distilling spirits is illegal. You could end up with methanol instead of ethanol. It could seriously affect you. It could make you blind or even kill you.

    You can, however, brew your own beer or make your own wine, without a license. It can be really strong, but it's much safer than making your own spirits. Spirits are lethal.

    It's just making your own spirits that is prohibited.

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  • 8 years ago

    You need a license to distill alcohol in quantity for ANY purpose.

    Otherwise you are brewing hooch, upon which no tax is paid - that act of not paying tax makes it illegal.

    In the UK, that tax is specifically called 'alcohol duty'.

  • Tavy
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Stills in the UK are illegal. You can brew beer or make wine, but spirits are out. Too dangerous.


  • Who
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    no, and its a quick way to go blind

    when you distill you get ethanol and methanol - the trick is to get a good separation between the 2

    cos one is ok, the other can make you blind. (cant remember which one is which)

  • ?
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    no ,but you can make your own wine for your own consumption

  • 8 years ago

    its perfectly legal to brew your own Alcohol there are shops that legally sell you brewing kits

    your not allowed to sell it

    Source(s): my head
  • Pete
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    it's fine to brew your own as long as you don't sell it. you can buy your own brewing kits.....

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