Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tilting at Windmills, Part II

I have been trying to get some kind of legal permission to build an alcohol still (for fuel purposes only) for some time now. I finally found someone at the "Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau," which is a sub-bureau of BATFE, Treasury Department, who could direct me to the proper forms for requesting a permit to operate a "small alcohol fuel plant." She called me after receiving my request.

"Do you have your still at your production and storage facility ready for inspection?"

"No," I said. "It is illegal for me to own a still in the Commonwealth of Virginia without a distiller's permit."

"Well, I am sorry, but we are unable to issue your permit without inspecting your equipment first. We used to get maybe 10 requests per year for alcohol fuel plants, and now we get about 400. Many states either allow or have changed their laws to allow small scale alcohol fuel production. Virginia is rather behind the times in this area. They are still [no pun!] worried about hillbilly moonshiners."

"I agree," I said.

I'm worried about the ever increasing amount of (virtually worthless) greenbacks that I have to hand over for a gallon of dinosaur juice.

I was hoping to use the federal permit as political leverage to change the outdated and byzantine law here in the Commonwealth, since a mere letter or two blowing across our esteemed delegate Wat Abbit's desk goes unnoticed unless it is on fire or written on the back of a $100 bill.

The TTB (the gov'ment acro-nym for Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau) lady was kind enough to send the permit paperwork for a beverage alcohol plant. It came in a big fat envelope which threatened to topple our little rural mailbox after it was forced inside by the letter carrier. There is all kinds of information required, bonds to be posted, first-borns to be surrendered, arms and legs removed, etc. etc., all in Government Standard Triplicate.

And I would still (heh) have to fight the Virginia ABC to get a Commonwealth Distiller's Permit.


Mark Tueting said...

Will you have to build a bathroom for the inspector?

Polymath said...

If I do, I gurantee that it will be clean and not dirty-dicked at all.