While individuals of legal drinking age may produce wine or beer at home for personal or family use, Federal law strictly prohibits individuals from producing distilled spirits at home (see 26 United States Code (U.S.C.) 5042(a)(2) and 5053(e)). Producing distilled spirits at any place other than a TTB-qualified distilled spirits plant can expose you to Federal charges for serious offenses and lead to consequences including, but not necessarily limited to, the following:
1. Within title 26 of the United States Code, section 5601 sets out criminal penalties for activities including the following. Offenses under this section are felonies that are punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, for each offense.
• 5601(a)(1) – Possession of an unregistered still.
• 5601(a)(2) – Engaging in business as a distiller without filing an application and receiving notice of registration.
• 5601(a)(6) – Distilling on a prohibited premises. (Under 26 U.S.C. 5178(a)(1)(B)), a distilled spirits plant may not be located in a residence or in sheds, yards, or enclosures connected to a residence.)
• 5601(a)(7) – Unlawful production or use of material fit for production of distilled spirits.
• 5601(a)(8 ) – Unlawful production of distilled spirits.
• 5601(a)(11) – Purchase, receipt, and/or processing of distilled spirits when the person who does so knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that Federal excise tax has not been paid on the spirits.
• 5601(a)(12) – Removal or concealment of distilled spirits on which tax has not been paid.
Under 26 U.S.C. 5602, engaging in business as a distiller with intent to defraud the United States of tax is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Under 26 U.S.C. 5604(a)(1), transporting, possessing, buying, selling, or transferring any distilled spirit unless the container bears the closure required by 26 U.S.C. 5301(d) (i.e., a closure that must be broken in order to open the container) is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, for each offense. Under 26 U.S.C. 5613, all distilled spirits not closed, marked, and branded as required by law and the TTB regulations shall be forfeited to the United States. In addition, 26 U.S.C. 5615(1) provides that unregistered stills and/or distilling apparatus also will be forfeited. Under 26 U.S.C. 5615(3), whenever any person carries on the business of a distiller without having given the required bond or with the intent to defraud the United States of tax on distilled spirits, the personal property of that person located in the distillery, and that person's interest in the tract of land on which the still is located, shall be forfeited to the United States. Under 26 U.S.C. 5686, possessing liquor or property intended to be used in violation of the law is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. Such liquor and property is also subject to the seizure and forfeiture provisions in 26 U.S.C. 5688. Under 26 U.S.C. 7201, any person who willfully attempts to evade or defeat any Internal Revenue Code tax (including the tax on distilled spirits) has committed a felony and shall be fined up to $100,000, imprisoned for up to 5 years, or both, plus the cost of prosecution. Under 26 U.S.C. 7301, any property subject to tax, or raw materials and/or equipment for the production of such property, in the possession of any person for the purpose of being sold or removed in violation of the internal revenue laws may be seized and shall be forfeited to the United States. In addition, any property (including aircraft, vehicles, and vessels) used to transport or used as a container for such property or materials may be seized and shall be forfeited to the United States. Further, 26 U.S.C. 7302 adds that it is unlawful to possess any property intended for use, or which has been used, in violation of the internal revenue laws; no property rights shall exist in any such property.
TTB Home Distilling Link:
Nebraska statutes mirror federal regulations see §53-1-100.
§53-1,100 - Violations; general penalties
(1) Any person (a) who imports alcoholic liquor for distribution as a wholesaler or distributes or sells alcoholic liquor at any place within the state without having first obtained a valid license to do so under the Nebraska Liquor Control Act, (b) who manufactures alcoholic liquor other than spirits within the state without having first obtained a valid license to do so under the act, (c) who makes any false statement or otherwise violates any of the provisions of the act in obtaining any license under the act, (d) who, having obtained a license under the act, violates any of the provisions of the act with respect to the manufacture, possession, distribution, or sale of alcoholic liquor or with respect to the maintenance of the licensed premises, or (e) who violates any other provision of the act for which a penalty is not otherwise provided, shall for a first offense be guilty of a Class IV misdemeanor and for a second or subsequent offense shall be guilty of a Class II misdemeanor.
(2) Any person who manufactures spirits at any place within the state without having first obtained a valid license to do so under the act shall be guilty of a Class I misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class IV felony for a second or subsequent offense.
(3) Each day any person engages in business as a manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, or bottle club in violation of the act shall constitute a separate offense.
(4) In any prosecution in which a person is charged with an offense arising out of the failure to obtain a valid license as provided in subdivision (1)(a) or (b) or subsection (2) of this section, evidence of the failure of the accused to produce such license upon demand shall constitute prima facie proof that a license has not been issued by the commission to such person.
Nebraska Statute Link: https://nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=53-1,100
HOWEVER, the following statute allows the manufacture of home BEER and WINE but NOT distilled alcohol.
§53-168.06 - General prohibition; exceptions
No person shall manufacture, bottle, blend, sell, barter, transport, deliver, furnish, or possess any alcoholic liquor for beverage purposes except as specifically provided in the Nebraska Liquor Control Act. Nothing in the act shall prevent:
(1) The possession of alcoholic liquor legally obtained as provided in the act for the personal use of the possessor and his or her family and guests;
(2) The making, transport, and delivery of wine, cider, beer, mead, perry, or other alcoholic liquor by a person from fruits, vegetables, honey, or grains, or the product thereof, by simple fermentation and without distillation, (a) if made solely for the use of the maker and his or her family and guests if such alcoholic liquor is not sold or offered for sale, or (b) if made without a permit for an exhibition, festival, or tasting competition, including exhibitions, festivals, or tasting competitions that are for nonprofit organizations such as fundraising events, legally conducted under the act, if such alcoholic liquor is not sold or offered for sale. Alcoholic liquor served pursuant to this subdivision (b) shall clearly be identified as alcoholic liquor that was manufactured under an exception to the rules and regulations of the commission by signage, and the location of the manufacturer shall be available upon request. Free or reduced admission to the exhibition, festival, or tasting competition shall not be considered a sale of the alcoholic liquor;
(3) Any duly licensed practicing physician or dentist from possessing or using alcoholic liquor in the strict practice of his or her profession, any hospital or other institution caring for the sick and diseased persons from possessing and using alcoholic liquor for the treatment of bona fide patients of such hospital or other institution, or any drug store employing a licensed pharmacist from possessing or using alcoholic liquor in the compounding of prescriptions of licensed physicians;
(4) The possession and dispensation of alcoholic liquor by an authorized representative of any religion on the premises of a place of worship, for the purpose of conducting any bona fide religious rite, ritual, or ceremony;
(5) Persons who are sixteen years old or older from carrying alcoholic liquor from licensed establishments when they are accompanied by a person not a minor;
(6) Persons who are sixteen years old or older from handling alcoholic liquor containers and alcoholic liquor in the course of their employment;
(7) Persons who are sixteen years old or older from removing and disposing of alcoholic liquor containers for the convenience of the employer and customers in the course of their employment;
(8 ) Persons who are sixteen years old or older from completing a transaction for the sale of alcoholic liquor in the course of their employment if they are not handling or serving alcoholic liquor; or
(9) Persons who are nineteen years old or older from serving or selling alcoholic liquor in the course of their employment.
Nebraska Statute Link:
If you have any questions regarding any type of liquor licensing on what is legal in Nebraska relating to beverage alcohol, contact the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission at (402) 471 - 2571 or through our website at https://lcc.nebraska.gov/contact-us