Homebrewers Beware – Beer & Wine Are Fine, But Spirits Begone!

By John M. Parker, Jr., Gillian B. Griffin, and Taylor Dunne[1]

Fall is the most wonderful time of the year.[2] The first “cool” front in Louisiana brings about a strong urge to watch football, to see the leaves change, and for some of us, to craft a Märzen style homebrew on the back porch in honor of Oktoberfest. Homebrewing has exploded in popularity across the United States and homebrew competitions have sprung up across Louisiana, many of which take place during the fall. For example, the annual Cap City Beer Fest is set to take place on November 5, 2023 in Downtown Baton Rouge which plays host to some of the most talented and prolific homebrewers in the state. (Taylor Porter will host a booth and hopes to see you there!).

But there is a limit to what federal and state law allow our frightening-fermenters to craft within the confines of their own homes. The law requires that homebrewers be at least twenty-one years of age,[3] limits the volume of homebrew allowed per year,[4] and prohibits commercial homebrewing.[5]

Moreover, permissible homemade alcoholic beverages include beers, meads, and even wines. But the law strictly prohibits homemade alcoholic beverages made through distillation. In fact, it is a crime to home-distill any type of liquor or spirits.[6] Even the mere possession of a still intended for the production of alcoholic beverages can carry a federal penalty of up to $10,000 and five years in jail. [7] A ghastly thought, indeed! The policy behind this distinction is in part due to the heightened safety risks associated with the distilling process in comparison to those for beer and wine.

The alcohol team here at Taylor Porter is happy to assist you with any and all homebrewing questions and further has particular expertise in obtaining the requisite permits for beer, wine, and liquor retailing, wholesaling, and manufacturing. Just remember that home distilling is “still” illegal! Do not hesitate to call Gillian Griffin or John Parker with any questions on the subject or to assist you with your alcohol-related business.


[1] Taylor Porter’s Alcoholic Beverage Licensing group.

[2] But see Edward Pola and George Wyle, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (1963) (alleging that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year).

[3] Under Louisiana law, homebrewers must be of lawful age to purchase alcoholic beverages, which is twenty-one years old as of the date of this article. La. R.S. § 26:793(A)(5)(b); La. R.S. § 14:93.11 (unlawful to sell alcohol to persons under twenty-one years of age). See also 26 U.S.C. §5042(a)(2) (home-vintners must be adults); 26 U.S.C. §5053(e) (homebrewers must be adults).

[4] The volume of homebrew cannot exceed 100 gallons per calendar year for a household with one resident of lawful age (at least twenty-one years) or 200 gallons per calendar year for a household with two or more residents of lawful age (at least twenty-one years). See La. R.S. § 26:793(A)(5)(b).

[5] Homebrewing must be “non-commercial,” or in other words, a hobby for (1) personal consumption by the homebrewer, their family, neighbors, guests, and friends, or (2) use at homebrew club meetings, organized affairs, exhibitions, competitions, and other properly permitted events. La. R.S. § 26:793(A)(5)(b).

[6] 26 U.S.C. §5601(a)(6); 26 U.S.C. 5178(a)(1)(B).

[7] 26 U.S.C. §5601(a)(2); 26 U.S.C. § 5002(a)(4).