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Student Questions

Have you heard about the science fair project or school project where a student:

  • Builds a homemade still,
  • Lets leftover food scraps ferment and turn into alcohol,
  • Burns the alcohol in a lantern, and
  • Compares the alcohol to other sources of energy?

Under current law and regulations, we cannot allow you to conduct experiments involving distillation of alcohol at your home.

As an alternative, Federal law allows us to issue a permit for an alcohol fuel plant (AFP). Under this type of permit, experiments with alcohol fuels can be conducted at locations properly qualified with TTB.

Here's what you need to do to qualify:

  • An authorized representative of your school (a teacher or other school official) must complete and forward an application form 5110.74 to us to establish a small AFP at your school.
  • The experiment must be conducted at your school under appropriate adult supervision.
  • The school official must tell us how long the experiment will last. They may allow for additional time in case your experiment is selected for additional competition or display at a regional or area science fair.
  • The school official must describe the adult supervision that will be provided. We require this because we are concerned about the safety of children handling hazardous materials and using distillation equipment with alcohol— even with adult supervision.

These steps apply primarily to students who are in elementary through high school. Make sure your application is filed as soon as possible to allow enough time for us to process it. You cannot begin the experiment until we issue you a permit.

Application form 5110.74 and additional information are available from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, National Revenue Center, Spirits Unit A, 550 Main Street, Room 8970, Cincinnati, OH 45202-3222. You may also contact us by phone at 877-882-3277 / 877-TTB-FAQS or by submitting an online inquiry.

How are laws and regulations made?

Laws and regulations are made through a process conducted by our Congress. Learn more about TTB's rulemaking process.

How can I learn more about alcohol and tobacco?

If you want to learn more about

  • Distilled Spirits Plants
  • Breweries
  • Wineries
  • Tobacco Products
  • Non-Beverage Alcohol Products
  • Excise Taxes on Alcohol, Tobacco or Firearms and Ammunition

You may contact our office:

National Revenue Center 
550 Main Street 
Room 8970 
Cincinnati , OH 45202-3222 
877-882-3277 toll free

Or you can visit the National Revenue Center's homepage. We will be happy to tell you all about the alcohol and tobacco industries. You may also contact us at National Revenue Center . We look forward to hearing from you!

How can I learn more about alcohol and tobacco prevention?

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is the agency that collects taxes on alcohol and tobacco products. We also write regulations about how alcohol and tobacco can be used and sold to others. Visit the sites below to get more information about underage drinking, alcohol prevention and abuse as well as smoking prevention.

How can I learn more about taxes?

The Department of the Treasury is the government agency that maintains and makes the money for the United States. Treasury has smaller offices that are called "bureaus" that each have a part in managing the money of the United States. The Internal Revenue Service is the bureau that collects taxes from individuals such as your mom and dad. To learn more about what the Internal Revenue Center does, visit their homepage at www.irs.gov. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is the bureau that makes and print the money we use everyday. To find out about how this is done, visit their homepage at www.bep.gov.

Read about the history of TTB

Last reviewed: October 18, 2016
Last updated: April 15, 2019