A recent question, though vague and needing some work to be a good question, touches on distilling. Legality has been discussed in this (meta) forum, but I wasn't able to find anything in the FAQ's that specifically said, "Brewing, not distilling", or "Beer/Wine/Sake, not liquor".

What is the definition of what we want this site to cover?

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Presumably, this was covered in the proposal phase of the SE, but I wasn't around then, so it may not have been. –  baka Mar 22 '11 at 18:06
    
I'd also be interested in knowing if this was discussed during proposal phase. –  drj Sep 23 '11 at 18:10
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Why do people assume its illegal to discuss distillation and distilling? First amendment anyone?? –  brewchez Feb 17 '12 at 3:33
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4 Answers

I vote yes - bring it on topic. Making spirits, particularly whiskey, is incredibly similar to making beer. Malt, yeast, temperature control, fermentation, etc. It'd be a little strange to propose an area51 site for "fermenting malt sugars using yeast but not producing beer, wine, champagne, mead or sake".

Here in Australia, stilling batches under 5L in volume is perfectly legal. Most LHBS stores sell stills and many brewers either have their own, or have a friend that does. I'd suggest that American legal questions are "too local" and should be flagged as off-topic.

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I can't comment on how accurate it is, but this guy claims distilling is legal in the US, it just requires a permit. meta.homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/31/… –  C4H5As Apr 23 '11 at 4:55
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Here is the BATF FAQ on distilled spirits. The BATF does issue permits for Distilled Spirits Plants (DSP). You can check out all the hoops you need to go through to get one hereThe applications are here. –  Jay Elston Jun 27 '11 at 7:32
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It appears, from the proposal phase, that distilling was voted as off-topic:

http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/1619?phase=definition

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Agreed, I'd never seen that. I personally agree with the sentiment, though at this phase, I'd feel the need to err on the side of allowing anything that might help the site get off the ground. That being said, I don't think including distilling would help the site grow in a coherent way. –  Mlusby Mar 22 '11 at 19:16
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@mlusby yes, allowing distilling seems to bring as many cons as pros.. maybe more. –  Jeff Atwood Mar 24 '11 at 1:42
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Ignoring legality, what cons are there? –  C4H5As Mar 26 '11 at 7:25
    
Thanks for including the link. I wonder if the votes of 17 people reflect an international participant population. –  drj Sep 23 '11 at 18:17
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Distilling is legal in a lot of countries. I'm in New Zealand and often experiment with distilling as well and beer brewing. I'm sure it would be very useful if my friends and I could ask distilling questions here.

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I'd think that using tags to distinguish the distilling questions should be sufficient to avoid diluting the beer brewing primary emphasis. –  drj Sep 23 '11 at 18:19
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Perhaps a distilling.stackexchange.com that is separate from homebrew.stackexchange.com should be started for everyone else who lives in jurisdictions where home-distilling is legal?

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