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Making Moonshine At Home Is On The Rise. But It's Still Illegal.

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I want to learn to distill... perfume. Or distilled water. FIREwater!

So homebrew of beer is legal but homebrew of distilled spirits is not legal?

"You can't open a distillery if you don't know what you're doing, and you can't know what you're doing unless you've practiced somewhere," Robinson says.

Haney, at Hillbilly Stills, says he guesses most professional distillers first dabbled in their craft illegally.

Colin Spoelman, for one, tells The Salt he learned to make moonshine in his Brooklyn apartment in 2008 without a permit before deciding to make the operation legit.

"Eventually, we got a license to make it legal to do what we were already doing," says Spoelman, co-founder of Kings County Distillery.

While most states prohibit home moonshining, state laws sometimes conflict with federal law. In Missouri, for example, a person 21 or over may produce up to 100 gallons of spirits per year for personal consumption without a permit.

But federal law trumps state law, and to the feds, distilling at home for personal consumption is illegal, period.

"If you distill without permits, you're looking at roughly a dozen felonies," says Tom Hogue, spokesman for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. "It's not something you want to be doing."

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