Fw: Re: hist-brewing: Cordials

rory rory at forgottensea.org
Mon Jun 30 13:37:26 PDT 2003

---------- Forwarded Message -----------
Sent: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 15:29:07 -0500
Subject: Re: hist-brewing: Cordials

Just to piggy-back/explain Rory's statement...

The feds only have jurisdiction when federal law applies. For the purpose of 
distillation of alcohol, the laws governing production and sale of distilled 
products fall under the overwhelmingly large umbrella of "interstate 
commerce" (since "common defense", "taxes and tariffs",  and "international 
treaties" don't apply, ICC is used as a catch-all by the feds to interfere in 
state and local jurisdictions.) According to the Attorneys General in the 
seven states I have contacted (Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, 
Pennsylvania, and New Jersey), and district attorneys in states where I have 
customers (specifically California, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, 
Alaska, and North Carolina), Federal laws have jurisdiction when one of two 
conditions are met: Money changes hands for an unlicensed distilled product, 
or an unlicensed distilled product is transported on a public byway (defined 
by the AG from Missouri as including the sidewalk in front of your house or 
any pa
 rt of your land set aside as a right-of-way.)

49 states (Kentucky excluded) have laws addressing home distillation. Until 
one of the two conditions above is met, those state laws have jurisdiction. 
NOTE: This does not mean home distillation is legal in 49 states - it just 
means that those 49 states have addressed the issue. I HIGHLY recommend 
checking with your state's Attorney General (note I didn't say with the 
liquor control board... those guys are in business to tax commercial liquor, 
not rule on it's legality.)

This all is important because it WOULD be illegal to transport on a public 
byway cordials, infusions, or liquors made with unlicensed distilled product 
(although even the federal government makes allowances for educational 
institutions - I've never been very clear on those...)

Other issues to bear in mind... the restrictions on stills are in place for 
two reasons. One is to ensure that Uncle Sam gets his tax dollars. the other 
is to protect from "bad liquor", such as wood alcohol or hootch made using an 
old car radiator as a condenser. These are peculiar to the heat distillation 
process. Cold distillation (freezing off the excess water in order to 
concentrate the remaining alcohol) is not illegal federally, and the 
byproduct is treated the same as homemade wines for the purpose of interstate 
commerce laws. in other words, if the cordial is made with a "de-chilled" 
liquor, it can legally be transported on public byways. It would, of course, 
still be subject to state laws regarding homemade wine... and some states 
(Missouri, for instance) do have a distinction for liquors apart from beers 
and wines in any case.


----- Original Message -----
From: rory <rory at FORGOTTENSEA.ORG>
Date:         Mon, 30 Jun 2003 11:09:00 -0600
Subject: Re: hist-brewing: Cordials

> On Mon, 30 Jun 2003 12:20:36 -0400, Bruce R. Gordon wrote
> > Greetings
> >      Well, in theory I could agree, but in actual practice the
> > distillation of alcohol is entirely illegal in the USA without very
> > expensive and extremely difficult-to-obtain licensing.
> This is a fallacy. There are Home-brewing supply stores all over the nation
> selling distilling equipment (for instance: 
> It is prohibited at a *State-level*. The part that is illegal "in the USA"
> (read "by the Feds") is the part about transporting said beverage and its
> sale.
> > I don't know
> > how they do things in Calontir, but in the Middle, where I am from,
> >  presentation of home-distilled products at an A+S fair isn't
> > permitted, since it is illegal.
> If it is illegal in your state, then at the LEAST, the entrant should 
> the choice of a pre-made liquor, and choose one appropriate to the context,
> and since vodka was rare (until later period) and everclear was unheard of.
> Again, my point isn't about legality, which as stated above is the biggest
> fallacy in the brewing world, my question is about where/how it should be
> discussed/judged.
> >   I would have
> > to disagree that blending flavours is a lesser skill
> NOTICE, I didn't say it was a lesser skill, I said that it maybe belonged in
> cooking. I can't make a good quiche, and all that is is mixing ingredients.
> There is some skill there. My point of conversation was to examine whether 
> is fair to place cordials in "brewing." Making Sekanjabin ISN'T generally
> considered "brewing," right? That is the SAME as making a cordial. But
> Sekanjabin is included with cooking not brewing, and my question is whether
> cordials should be placed there too.
> HL Rory McGowen

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