The TTB prohibits distilleries from locating in any dwelling house, or in any shed, yard or enclosure connected with a dwelling house. It is true that this restriction has been broadly interpreted by some examiners to mean land on a residential lot that is separated by a wooded area between the homestead and the proposed distillery, any outbuilding on a parcel of land that contains a farm residence, detached garages on residential property and a commercial building with mixed use that includes apartments or condominium units. In fact, these exact examples are part of the TTB legal compliance seminar on common pitfalls for microdistilleries.
However, it is also true that some examiners interpret it to mean that the distillery may be on the same property if it is in a separate building with a separate entrance. I have several distilleries that are applying for licenses and one is proposed to be located on a property that one of the owners currently resides on – an apparent barrier. As we looked into the situation, these clients reached out to the distillery community and learned of a number of distilleries have been allowed on residential parcels, as long as they followed certain guidelines (which vary in each individual case). By looking into cases where it was permitted, we are able to propose a plan that should be acceptable to the TTB and move forward to launch this new venture.
This case is a perfect example of a collaborative effort between attorney and client, and the value of learning from other industry members. These exceptions are not written or easily researched in the law books. Real life examples provide invaluable business information.