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Offline Ihuntaz  
#201 Posted : Tuesday, June 24, 2014 6:23:13 PM(UTC)
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Has anyone out west received any kind of letter?
Offline Alli  
#202 Posted : Tuesday, June 24, 2014 9:09:40 PM(UTC)
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"Rick at Brewhaus has been notifying folks who order a still about the law and the TTB actions and asks them if they want to continue to process the order. He is the only manufacturer I know who gives his customers a chance to back out of the order before it is sent.

Tom
Hobby Distillers Association"
Offline Alli  
#203 Posted : Tuesday, June 24, 2014 9:13:24 PM(UTC)
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One of our members was told he did not qualify for an AFP because he did not have an outbuilding to house the plant in. I don't remember anything in the regs that stated that, but since I already had a detached garage, I may have paid no attention. I would call them to be sure.

Tom
Hobby Distiller's Association
Offline RCRed  
#204 Posted : Wednesday, June 25, 2014 12:43:24 AM(UTC)
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The sample plat drawing they show illustrates a separate building from a dwelling... I think it is buried somewhere in the requirements that the TTB considers it a safety issue to distill in the house, or attached to one..

I used this form I got from another AFP producer here.. It had the drawing example;
http://www.distillitrak....ture_library/f511074.pdf - Instruction 8
Offline RandyMarshCT  
#205 Posted : Wednesday, June 25, 2014 1:06:14 AM(UTC)
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I was denied for not having an out building. Simple solution would have been to put a shed out in my back yard, but I plan on moving soon so the shed idea is on hold.
Offline RCRed  
#206 Posted : Wednesday, June 25, 2014 1:45:43 AM(UTC)
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Heya RandyM

You know a lot of places sell pre-constructed sheds and the like. Yes they can be several thousand, but they are fully functional and once set on a foundation (blocks or slab) they are fantastic.
Offline Alli  
#207 Posted : Wednesday, June 25, 2014 5:54:43 AM(UTC)
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Last week I sent a email to my Congressman regarding my concerns about the letters being sent out by the TTB. To begin with the letters are very poorly constructed and seem to a cross between a demand for action (you better get a permit) and an informational notice (did you know that to distill alcohol you need a permit) and there is no timeline for obtaining a permit mentioned in the letter. My emailr was then sent to Tom Hogue who is the proud author of the Notice about the Florida raids in March and I have copied his response below.

I think what bothers me the most is the $500,000 fine noted in the TTB letters going out now. Mr. Hogue quotes 18 USC 3571 as the source of the $500,000 fine. To begin with, the $500K fine applies to corporations, not individuals and also, 18 USC 3571 (e) says that if there is another law that specifies a lower fine than called for in this law, the lower fine shall prevail. In the case of operating a still without a permit, 26 USC Code 5601(a)(1) says the maximum fine is $10,000. I know that $10,000 is a lot of money that most of us don't have, but as I have said previously, this maximum fine is for hard core moonshiners, not hobby distillers,however, my point is that the TTB is overstating the possible fines. Robert Angelo is the Deputy Director of the Trade investigators Division and signed the letters.

Attached below is the response I received from Mr. Hogue. Chris Jones is an aid in Congressman Wittman's office.

From: Hogue, Thomas K. [mailto:XXXXXXXXXXXXX]
Sent: Monday, June 23, 2014 1:07 PM
To: Jones, Chris
Subject: RE: TTB letters

Chris,
Congress did not provide for a personal use exemption for the production of distilled spirits as they did for beer and wine. Consequently, there are some significant Federal penalties associated with the illegal production of distilled spirits. $500,000 is the maximum penalty per 18 USC 3571, which increases all penalties under federal statutes.
TTB has been reaching out to persons who have been identified as having purchased stills or still equipment to let them know that they need to obtain the necessary Federal permits and bonds before distilling alcohol.
Persons who receive the letter do not need to respond. However, if they wish to distill alcohol, they should visit the distilled spirits page of the TTB website for more information at http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/index.shtml.
Hope this helps.
Tom (Hogue - TTB)

Tom Cowdrey
Hobby Distiller's Association
Offline admin  
#208 Posted : Wednesday, June 25, 2014 6:50:12 AM(UTC)
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That is very informative, Tom. Thanks for posting it!
Offline CHM  
#209 Posted : Thursday, June 26, 2014 1:33:50 AM(UTC)
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I received a "Big Brother" letter yesterday which included the form letter and press release about Florida. My wife opened the mail and was not happy at all. I am very disappointed that my private information was passed on to the federal agency from Brewhaus and understand that other vendors were in the same situation. I am not sure why the information couldn't have been destroyed after a reasonable time period, but that is water over the dam at this point. Now, I am on some "list" and wouldn't put it past them to ask the local authorities to investigate since there is no way they have the resources. Needless to say, I will not have any equipment or untaxed liquor in my possession. I would like to think the current movement toward some home distillation allowance could gain enough monentum to pass through congress, etc, but I think this is a long-shot to say the least. Our government is interested in only one thing: increasing tax revenue - no matter where or how, and imposing ridiculous laws to intimidate the few individuals that still pay taxes. How else can you fund the majority of our population receiving government benefits? This will be my last post on this forum and I am sure many will "flame" me, etc. I don't need or want any agency breaking down my door because they think I may have "moonshine". Absolutely ridiculous waste of time and money.
Offline RCRed  
#210 Posted : Thursday, June 26, 2014 2:32:59 AM(UTC)
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I woudn't flame you. Unless you live in a state where it is illegal to possess, I would not throw it away - because that is also a violation of sorts of the federal statute. Take it apart, store it elsewhere (off premise). Remember, they cannot search thru your belongings, if it's not visible, they cannot search -w/o a warrant.

Yes, I realize they will, but nothing holds up w/o a warrant..Still, a person is left with the legal costs of standing ones ground, and the attendant anxiety. I understand the frustration, but I also proffer that we should not surrender to this dictatorial government that has somehow taken our nation.

Also, I proffer that I an an AFP holder, and I got the same letter, and I contacted them to find out it's just a friendly reminder of the oppression this administration has brought to bear on everyday Americans. So, apply for a permit (even if you plan on quitting-It shows intent on following the law and it's just a paper form), leave your unit UN-assembled and tell them to pound sand - unless you live in FL. Florida has a shitty law that says it's illegal to possess w/o a FLABC permit.

If you are going to dispose of your equipment, please do so according to the TTB req's or that could have other consequences.
Offline John Barleycorn  
#211 Posted : Thursday, June 26, 2014 3:22:30 AM(UTC)
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"Hi CHM,

Originally Posted by: CHM Go to Quoted Post
This will be my last post on this forum and I am sure many will ""flame"" me, etc.


The only thing I'm going to flame you for is saying, ""This will be my last post ...."" :) Keep on posting and remain a member of our community! And help us get our hobby legalized!

Since you received a letter, you might want to visit the HDA website (http://www.hobbydistillersassociation.org). Go to the legalization tab and select ""State Laws by State"" so you can determine if there's any laws in your state that prevent ownership/possession of distilling equipment. Then perhaps join the HDA. You can join for free as a ""Non-Hobbyist Supporter.""

As for turning over personal information ...
It's a matter of law. Manufacturers/vendors of distilling equipment are required to maintain records for three years, and these records must be made available for ""inspection"" by the TTB (it's in 27 CFR I). There's really no way around this. Unfortunately, our government has decided to use this administrative requirement as tool for harassing hobbyists.

Regards,
--JB"
Offline kane  
#212 Posted : Thursday, June 26, 2014 3:44:21 AM(UTC)
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"what really makes me curious is i only bought some parts and i am on the list
what exactly do u guys have to report 100 % of all sales or just the towers ?"
Offline John Barleycorn  
#213 Posted : Thursday, June 26, 2014 3:58:19 AM(UTC)
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"Emphasis added
Quote:
27 CFR 29.59 - Records.
§ 29.59 Records.
A copy of each notice of manufacture, or set up, of still required under the provisions of § 29.47, or § 29.49, shall be maintained, in chronological order, by the manufacturer at the premises where the still or distilling apparatus is manufactured. In addition, each manufacturer or vendor of stills shall maintain at their premises a record showing all stills and distilling apparatus (including those to be used for purposes other than distilling) manufactured, received, removed, or otherwise disposed of. The record will also show the name and address of the purchaser and the purpose for which each apparatus is to be used. Any commercial document on which all the required information has been recorded may be used for the record. The records will be kept available for a period of three years for inspection by appropriate TTB officers.


The ""inspection"" part is what gives them authority to obtain the records. I suppose, technically, there's really nothing that gives them authority to maintain a database of personal information and take any action without cause ... only to inspect ... maybe some clever lawyer could weasle around that somehow. I also wonder if the information could be requested via FIA? Oh well ...."
Offline RCRed  
#214 Posted : Thursday, June 26, 2014 4:20:00 AM(UTC)
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See, that's part of the problem... Who among us has access to free legal services unless you've a sibling, or significant other that is a mouthpiece. We are hobbyists mostly, and I don't know any of us setting aside 10K+ for legal representation. Sure, you whop the rap in the end, but it's costs a fortune to do so..

I know that from hard experience in other matters over the years. In our current world, it's smart to have a good attorney's name somewhere.. Like a gun, you seldom if ever need it, but if you do and don't have one, you will dreadfully regret it. I hate that we have become such a litigious society, but it is what it is.
Offline Novice18  
#215 Posted : Thursday, June 26, 2014 8:00:49 AM(UTC)
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Just received my third form letter. Count is 1 to my home and 2 to my work address as I occasionally have merchandise shipped here. This is even more costly if they can't even manage who they've already threatened.
Offline mntnmn  
#216 Posted : Friday, June 27, 2014 9:02:47 AM(UTC)
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I got 2 letters in the mail today!!!! We are a homebrewing retailer. We purchased 2 distillers from Brewhaus last year and resold them. We no longer sell distilling equipment.We did keep some records.But i dont know where they are right now.
This is particularly distressing to us as we have just this past weekend sent in our application for a brewery to the TTB.
Will they be coming here to inspect us?
Will they come to our homes to inspect?
Will this inquiry stop us from getting our brewery approved?
What a mess.
Got us SWEATING to say the least.
Offline dieselduo  
#217 Posted : Friday, June 27, 2014 9:14:31 AM(UTC)
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"Only in America ...."
Offline jeremiahbullfrogbrewing  
#218 Posted : Saturday, June 28, 2014 3:52:33 AM(UTC)
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Howdy all,
I also received my beautifully constructed and threatening letter the other day. In trying to determine how to proceed, I want to throw a few thoughts out there and see what people think.
In my state, I am legally allowed to own a still, just not produce alcohol with it. My state defines a still as being set up over a heat source.
At this point, all the TTB knows about me is that I bought equipment that is suitable for distilling alcohol but can also be legally used for other purposes in my state.
If I opt for applying for an AFP permit, they would then also know that I actually was intending to use it for alcohol production.
It seems like then I would be on a whole different radar than if I didn't apply for an AFP.
In addition, if I was hypothetically to distill alcohol for fuel, but set some aside to age for drinking, I would still be breaking the law.
Hence, I'm not really certain getting an AFP really protects me anymore than doing nothing.
These are random thoughts, just part of the info processing, so I'm eager to have people chime in and tell me I'm completely misguided.
Ciao
Offline Alli  
#219 Posted : Saturday, June 28, 2014 5:10:30 AM(UTC)
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Jerimia,

See my post number 208 in this thread. You say you got a letter which means your name was sent to the TTB by a supplier or manufacturer of stills and still parts, therefore the TTB assumes you "may" have some intent to distill alcohol. While I don't agree that the letter is well constructed, I certainly agree it is threatening. There are several things you can do with the still you purchased, 1) put is on display in your home as a décor and not use it at all in which case no registration is required, 2) distill water or oils in which case you are required to send the TTB a letter explaining your intended use and it becomes registered for those uses, 3) open a distillery and apply for a DSP (Distilled Spirits Plant) and be ready to jump thru all of the hoops both federal and state involved in that process. BTW, DSPs are not allowed on residential land, 4) apply for an Alcohol Fuel Plant Permit - costs nothing, your still will be registered and the permit offers you a modicum of protection as long as you use common sense in and around your Fuel Plant, 5) throw it away or give it away - not recommended or 6) do nothing. If you notice in Tom Hogue's response to my questions to Congressman Wittman's aid Chris Jones, he states that no response is required to these letters so you don't have to do anything.

Now, according to federal statutes, with the exception of #1 above you are required to register a still. You are also required to notify the TTB in the case of #5 (disposal/sale/etc.). IF you choose going the AFP route, your still is registered. Will the TTB think you might be drinking some of the "fuel"? Most likely but they have no proof unless they catch you in the act. If you do nothing they know damn well you are using it for one reason and one reason only, alcohol to drink. For this reason, several of us on this forum and at Hobby Distiller's Association are suggesting everyone who owns a still apply for an AFP, letter or no letter. If enough people apply for a fuel plant permit and we bury them in applications, maybe they will think twice before sending out another threatening letter. Use the paper form and keep a copy of everything you send them.

If you want more detail, send me a PM.

Tom
Hobby Distiller's Association
Offline RCRed  
#220 Posted : Saturday, June 28, 2014 6:16:11 AM(UTC)
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May I also add an AFP Small does not mean you are commencing/conducting operations as an AFP. It is simply a permit to do so. And, it servers as compliance with the Fed requirement for registration. You do have to submit a report yearly and the permit can be revoked for non-production after a time. But if you are like me, I have engines here that can run a blend(15%), and they do. I report that blend as fuel produced and used as fuel.

Plz use a paper form. Show them the same "love" they have shown us :)
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