Legal limitations & framework

Since alcohol can often be produced during distillation with a rotary evaporator, the legal framework is of course very interesting. First of all, it should be noted that there is no precise regulation for working with the rotary evaporator in connection with a catering establishment. What does exist, however, are laws and regulations for the manufacture and handling of alcohol and associated equipment and storage Therefore, one have to use some passages from the Alcohol Tax Ordinance (AlkStV), the Alcohol Tax Act (AlkStG) as well as 92/83 / EEC and EU / 2020/1151 and transcribe them accordingly. Overall, when working with alcoholic products on a rotary evaporator, one must also be aware that it is a strictly regulated area with government oversight and control.

To summarize and "translate", one can say that low alcohol products such as wine or beer may not be distilled into spirits, as they would then have to be treated differently for tax and customs purposes after distillation. And care should be taken with the finished product to ensure that the alcohol content at the end of processing does not exceed that of the initial product. Anyone who distills alcohol for the commercial production of flavors, for examples, already needs a permit from customs (see AlkStG §27 / §28). Or, if you brew beer privately, you must report the expected alcohol content to the relevant customs office as soon as you start producing alcohol (Form 2075 "Tax declaration for beer in individual cases").

You can keep as a rule of thumb: Only distilled or completely alcohol-free ingredients may be (re)distilled in the rotary evaporator. However, distillation devices with a volume of more than 2 liters are also subject to mandatory registration in Germany.
Anyone who tries to produce alcohol by fermentation and subsequent distillation without a legal basis (distilling right, tax warehouse, registered equipment, tax registration ...), is doubly liable to prosecution for illegal alcohol production and tax evasion. The penalties for this are severe and are very strictly enforced, so we strongly advise against such "attempts" (even for private use).

Author's note:
The text is written to the best of our knowledge, but not legally reliable. We therefore recommend involving the main customs office responsible in each case before starting any activity with alcohol and/or rotary evaporators (larger than 2l flask volume) or contacting them if you have any questions.

Heidolph Team
Heidolph Instruments is a premium manufacturer of high-quality laboratory equipment.

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