Stills and distillation

Stills used to distil alcohol

To use a still (of any capacity) to distil alcohol, such as spirits, you must have an excise manufacturer licence.

Severe penalties apply for manufacturing spirits without an excise manufacturer licence.

To be granted an excise manufacturer licence we will consider your circumstances, such as the security of your premises and that you will pay the correct amount of excise duty when required.

Excise duty is generally payable on alcohol you distil, whether you have a licence to produce it or not. This includes alcohol you distil for personal use.

To manufacture alcohol you may also need to check with state liquor licensing and health agencies.

You don't need a licence to make beer or wine for personal use.

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Stills used for other purposes

You can own a still of five litres or less without permission but only if you're not using it to distil alcohol.

For a still over five litres in capacity, if you're not a licensed excise manufacturer you must have permission from us to do any of the following:

  • manufacture the still
  • move or set up the still, for example at your home or commercial premises
  • sell or buy the still
  • import the still
  • have possession, custody or control of the still.

The capacity of the still is the volume of liquid it's capable of holding.

Penalties apply if you don't have the appropriate permission for a still.

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See also:


Duration 1:16. A transcript of Distil the facts about alcohol is also available.

Last modified: 04 Jan 2016QC 18495