Skip to main content

Podcast Classroom Guide: Federalism, prohibition, and the hobby distilling debate in NH

In this podcast episode, hosts Anna Brown and Mike Dunbar discuss a proposal to legalize hobby distilling at the state level, which would conflict with federal law. In addition to exploring other conflicts between state and federal law, Anna and Mike talk about the pros and cons of liquor regulation and how citizens can get involved in the legislative process.


Podcast includes 12 minutes on the topic of hobby distilling, 5 additional minutes of "fun facts" about the New Hampshire Statehouse.

Key concepts/standards

  • Federalism and the Supremacy Clause
    • SS:CV:8:2.1: Define the organization and responsibilities of federal government that are set forth in the New Hampshire Constitution, the United States Constitution and their amendments, e.g., Separation of Powers, Division of Powers, or the Bill of Rights. (Themes: B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement)
    • SS:HI:8:1.4: Analyze the tension between states' rights and national authority, e.g., the nullification crisis of 1832 or school integration of the 1960’s. (Themes: A: Conflict and Cooperation, H: Individualism, Equality and Authority)
  • Prohibition/the role of the government in regulating alcohol and other “vices”
    • SS:CV:12:1.3: Evaluate how the purposes of government have been interpreted , e.g., promoting the general welfare or protection of private property. (Themes: B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement, D: Material Wants and Needs)
  • Public hearings and opportunities for citizen involvement in the legislative process
    • SS:CV:12:1.2: Examine how institutions and individuals make, apply, and enforce rules and laws, e.g., the Federal Communications Commission regulations on television broadcast standards or local public hearings on zoning regulations. (Themes: B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement, E: Cultural Development, Interaction, and Change)

Discussion questions

  • What is the difference between making beer and making liquor at home?
  • Do you think it should be legal to distill liquor at home? Why or why not?
  • Should states make laws for themselves that go against federal law?
  • HB 416 sets limits on how much alcohol someone could produce at home. Do you agree that there should be a limit? Why or why not?
  • What role does taxation play in the debate over hobby distilling?
  • What impact could legalized home distilling have on the local economy?
  • Should proponents of hobby distilling focus their efforts on changing state law or should they try to change the federal law? Why?
Thank you to our sponsors and donors