Basic Distilling Laws in Australia

Friends drinking beerCraft distilling is a relatively new industry in Australia. Australians, however, are proving that you don’t have to be in the business for a long time to produce internationally acclaimed products.

If you’re thinking about distilling your own spirits, but have no idea where to start, there are online retailers like Distill Spirits that deliver home distilling products throughout Australia. Moreover, there are certain laws you should be familiar with and abide by before attempting to create your first batch.

Legal to Use 5L Stills for Non-Alcoholic Purposes

According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), you may own a still of up to five litres as long as you only use it to distill water or essential oils. Any still that holds over five litres, whether it is for water or alcohol distilling, requires registering with the ATO.

Excise Licence Required for Distilling Alcohol

Since incorrectly distilling alcohol could make the product toxic, the ATO has been very strict with people who want to operate a still in their home. The ATO requires a person to have an excise manufacturer licence to use a still, regardless of its capacity, to distill alcohol.

When granting a permit, the ATO considers the security of the person’s premises and whether they can pay the correct amount of excise duty when needed. Excise duty is normally payable on the alcohol you distill.

If you’re looking to manufacture alcohol, you should also check for specific liquor licensing laws in your state, as well as with local health agencies.

Serious Penalties

The ATO’s Assistant Commissioner Tom Wheeler said that people who do not apply for permission to buy, sell, import, move, manufacture or merely possess a still of over five litres might be facing $8,500 or more in fines.

Additionally, illegally distilling alcohol can reach up to $85,000 or more in fines or two years in prison.

The government imposes a strict rule when it comes to distilling alcohol since the process has a level precariousness that requires the distiller’s utmost attention. You should double check with the law when setting up your own distillery.