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Hobby Distiller’s Association Meets in DC Regarding Bill to Legalize Home Distilling

Rick and Dawn Morris meet with Senator Cruz in Washington DC on Sept. 16, 2014.

Rick Morris, Brewhaus founder and volunteer behind the Hobby Distiller’s Association (HDA), and HDA lobbyist Keith Nelson met with Representative Michael C. Burgess and Senator Ted Cruz on Tuesday, September 16 in Washington DC. The meetings were in regards to a bill that could afford hobby distillers the same legal rights as hobby brewers and winemakers.

Nelson and Morris had the opportunity to speak with Senator Cruz’s aide, Hunter Rome, as well as with Cruz himself. Cruz expressed interest in the topic in part due to his time as the director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) years ago. In fact, Cruz recently visited a winery in Stonewall, TX for a round table with representatives from the Texas wine industry. Morris felt that today’s meeting with Cruz was positive overall.

“Obviously, they won’t commit until they see the language of the bill, but I think we’re on the right track,” Morris stated. “Cruz was very friendly and personable. All in all, I’d say this was a positive experience.”

Morris and Nelson also met with Representative Burgess to discuss any potential concerns related to the effects of legalizing home distilling. Due to his background in medicine, Burgess did in fact have concerns about the dangers of methanol poisoning. Therefore, the HDA provided him with a safety sheet which includes facts and figures that directly address common concerns regarding alcohol distillation. Burgess will have his aides conduct additional research on the topic to verify that the HDA’s investigations of each safety concern meet his standards.

“We’ll follow up with Burgess to help them with any information they may need,” Morris explained.

The next focus for the HDA is to prepare for their meeting with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which is scheduled for Tuesday, September 23. Three members of the HDA Membership Committee in addition to lobbyist Nelson will meet in Washington DC with the administrator of the TTB. We will keep you updated on any new developments as the news rolls in.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest.

Hobby Distiller’s Association Meeting in Washington DC Next Week

Brewhaus founder and volunteer behind the Hobby Distiller’s Association (HDA) Rick Morris is scheduled to meet with Congressman Michael C. Burgess on Tuesday, September 16 in Washington DC. Burgess currently represents Texas’ 26th congressional district and has agreed to meet with Morris regarding a bill that could afford hobby distillers the same legal rights as hobby brewers and winemakers.

One goal of the meeting is to quell any potential concerns related to the effects of legalizing home distilling. Morris hopes to debunk the misconceptions on the dangers of home distillation.

“So many people think distilling ‘makes’ something, they think it’s dangerous,” Morris states. “But it’s really not.”

Meeting with Burgess is a big step forward for the HDA. Many supporters of home distilling rights have become discouraged by previous, half-hearted attempts to legalize home distilling made by other organizations, but this September 16th meeting has restored faith in many naysayers.

“People that were previously blasting our supporters now are actually joined up with the HDA and urging others to do the same,” Morris reports. “They’ve actually said, ‘This is the real deal this time. These guys are serious and pushing it, and it’s not just another flash in the pan that’s going to disappear.’”

Morris is optimistic about what meeting with Burgess can accomplish. “The ultimate goal,” he explains, “is to get the bill to the floor. Potentially, even get them to agree to cosponsor the bill when it hits the floor. I’m trying to get in with Senator John Cornyn while I’m there as well. At the very least, I’d like to walk away with them committed to voting in favor of the bill when it does hit the floor.”

We’ll keep you updated on Morris and the HDA’s progress as we receive more information. In the meantime, we invite you to visit the Hobby Distiller’s Association website to learn more about their cause. The website contains details on each state’s individual laws towards home distilling as well as flyers, proposals, presentations, and other literature that you can download and share. You can even become a member of the HDA.

Let’s work together to make a difference in the rights of home distillers. To quote Benjamin Franklin, “We must indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

Celebrating 22 Years of Brewhaus

In light of being in business for 22 years and counting, Brewhaus is ready to provide you with a new website to better meet your home distilling and brewing needs. Our business was built on customer service, and we’re always looking for new ways to improve your experience on our site. Therefore, we’re going to add some new features that will benefit you as a customer while giving the site a more modern look at the same time.

Don’t worry; we’re not changing our prices or anything like that. Security also remains a top priority for us, and we will continue to operate on our own server in order to restrict all external access to our server. All we want to do is to simply breathe a bit of new life into the site while also making it easier for you to find the products you need. We’ll keep you updated throughout the process, and we hope you’ll join us in celebrating on the day we reveal our new look!

We also want to hear from you. What would you like to see on our new website? Let us know by leaving a comment in this blog, posting to our Facebook wall, or tweeting us on Twitter.

NEW- Heater Controller

Finally, a way to control the heat output of your hotplate, internal heating element, or band heater!  Our new Heater Controller allows full pass through of power, allowing for fast heat-up, while also allowing you to control the heat output of your heater without the annoyance of cycling (note:  cycling may need to be disabled on your heater).

The new heater controller is very simple to use, requiring no special wiring.  It has a standard 110V plug, so you can simply plug your heater into the controller and you are ready to go.  The maximum of 1500W is sufficient for nearly all 110V heaters.

Regularly priced at $24.99, but currently on sale for $21.99, the new heater controller is a great addition to any internal or external heat source.

The Brewhaus Solar Digital Thermometer

The Brewhaus Solar powered digital thermometer is a high quality instrument, and comes with a 1/2″ stainless steel male NPT fitting and 2.5″ long stainless steel stem. It measures temperature from -50 to 320 degrees F (-50 to 160 degrees C), with an accuracy of + or – 1 %. The LCD screen is powered by solar energy in light levels greater than that of a very dark over cast day and switches to battery power when light levels drop below that. The Brewhaus Solar Digital Thermometer is available in Celsius or Fahrenheit.

Regularly priced at $39.99, but on sale for $34.99, get your Brewhaus Solar Digital Thermometer (Fahrenheit) or Solar Digital Thermometer (Celsius) now!

Gin Series Distillers

Essential Extractor Gin Series CompleteWhile it has technically been available for about four years, Brewhaus’ Gin Series alcohol still is considered a new item as it has just recently been added to our standard lineup.  Our Gin Still has been made on request for hobbyists and small craft distilleries, but remained a custom production item until increasing requests prompted us to go into full production of the columns.

The unique design of our Gin Column allows it to be set up many different ways, making it the most versatile distiller on the market.  By incorporating a gin basket that is the same diameter as the rest of the column, our gin column can be set up to operate just as our Pro Series II and High Capacity forced reflux distillers.  This design also gives you two ‘gin basket’ options- a 5″ basket that is suitable for most infusions, and a 20″ basket for use with large amounts of botanicals.  Our Gin Series columns can also be set up as an alembic style distiller, pot distiller, or column distiller.

Gin Series ColumnWhile obviously built with the intention of distilling gin, with the versatility of the columns you can distill virtually anything, such as water, essential oils, whisky, rum, vodka, and anything where you would like to infuse flavor and aroma.

Made by Brewhaus right here in the USA, our gin series distillers are built to last, and just like the rest of our Essential Extractor distillers, they carry a lifetime warranty!

High Spirits Turbo 48

Essential Extractor ThumperIt’s finally here!  High Spirits Turbo 48 turbo yeast is now available.  The new High Spirits Turbo 48 turbo yeast will ferment to 14% in approximately 48 hours, or up to 18% in 5-7 days, just like other 48 hour turbo yeasts, but without the use of urea as a nutrient.  While virtually all other turbo yeast brands use urea as a major component, all High Spirits turbo yeasts and specialty yeasts are 100% urea free!  Use of urea in fermentation can increase production of ethyl carbamate, which is a known carcinogen (cancer causing agent).  For this reason the use of urea in beverage grade fermentation is against the law in some countries.

High Spirits Turbo 48 will ferment extremely quickly and cleanly.  The combination of a very high temperature tolerant (to over 100oF!) neutral fermenting yeast and a special blend of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients offer the purest fermentation of any turbo yeast available.

All High Spirits yeasts are produced by Brewhaus, in the USA.  This bring you the freshest possible yeast mixes at the lowest prices available.  Right now the High Spirits Turbo 48 turbo yeast is on sale for the unbelievable price of just $2.99.  Save more on 25 and 50 packs!

New Product- 1500W Stainless Steel Band Heater

1500W Band HeaterA completely new method of heating your distiller, our new 1500W Stainless Steel Band Heater offers more efficient heat than an electric hotplate.  The surface area of the band heater is considerably greater than that of a hotplate, and by wrapping the heater around the kettle you dramatically increase the area being used to heat the liquid in the kettle.  An additional benefit of the band heater is that, unlike conventional heat sources such as a hotplate or propane burner, it does not heat from the bottom of the kettle.  This is especially beneficial for an alcohol still, as any residual yeast, grain, fruit pulp, etc., can settle to the bottom of the kettle.  Heating your kettle from the bottom can scorch this material to the kettle, which can be difficult to clean and even cause damage to your kettle. 

Our band heaters have been custom made to fit the Brewhaus 8 gallon and 15 gallon premium kettles.  Because band heaters must fit tightly around the container that they are heating our band heaters work exclusively with our kettles.

New Item- Stainless Steel Thumper

Essential Extractor ThumperYou asked for it, and now you can have it- a heavy-duty stainless steel thumper from Brewhaus!  Our thumper is made from 4″ stainless steel tubing, so it will last you virtually forever.

Our thumper design optimizes its effectiveness by being tall and slender, forcing a longer contact time between the incoming vapor and the liquid in the thumper.  To further improve the heat transfer that takes place inside the thumper we add a diffusion screen to the inlet.  This results in smaller bubbles, which are condensed more readily, improving the overall function of the thumper.

Finally, you can purchase the thumper as a base model (as shown) and connect to your kettle using 1/2″ tubing, or you can purchase a kettle connection and/or condenser, which can attach to the thumper with simple tri-clamp connections.

Want a larger thumper?  Just ask us.  We can increase the height of the thumper on demand, and even custom build on request!

New Association Formed to Press for Legalization of Home Distilling

Hobby Distiller's Association
Did you know that owning and operating an alcohol still in the United States, as it is in most countries in the world, is illegal without proper licenses, even if you are producing only for personal consumption? Unlike beer and winemaking as a hobby, which are legal in most countries, distilling any of your homemade beer or wine is against the law. It is time to see this changed!  In response to this, Rick Morris of Brewhaus has founded the Hobby Distiller’s Association, with the first goal being federal legalization of distilling on a hobby basis in the USA.

While there have been attempts in the past to pursue legalization, none have had the unity and strength of the new association.  Most previous attempts to legalize home distilling have garnered little support, interest quickly waned, and the effort was abandoned.  By forming an association with members supporting the movement, and Brewhaus stepping up to back the organization financially, the Hobby Distiller’s Association is not going to be just another short-lived push for legalization.

Possibly the biggest difference between this effort and previous ones is that the Hobby Distiller’s Association has hired a lobbyist in Washington, DC, who is pushing our cause directly with legislators in Congress.

To show your support for the cause, or to get more information on the effort, please check out the HDA website at www.hobbydistillersassociation.org.