Disclaimer: Nothing should be construed here as encouragement to violate any law or to perform any illegal act.
Distilling serves many purposes (water purification, essential oil extraction, etc.) is typically legal and unregulated.
Federal Distillation Laws
Federal law states that it is legal to own a still of any size.
It is legal to own a still for decoration, distilling water, distilling essential oils, etc.
The still does not need to be registered with anyone and no permits are needed as long as it is being used for the purposes listed above.
However, it is illegal to distill alcohol without having either a “distilled spirits permit” or a “federal fuel alcohol permit.” It does not matter if the alcohol is for personal use only, not for sale, etc.
You can read more about the Federal Laws by clicking here.
The laws vary from state to state concerning owning a still. Check your State Laws. For example, in Florida it is against the law to own a still for any purposes.
Federal Distilled Spirits & Federal Fuel Alcohol Permit
If a person wishes to legally distill alcohol, they have two options. The first option is to obtain a Federal Distilled Spirits Permit.
Option two is a Federal Fuel Alcohol Permit which is pretty easy to obtain.
You can obtain a copy of the Federal Fuel Alcohol Permit by clicking here.