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Distilling

alcohol united alcoholic proof

Distilling, production of strong alcoholic drinks by distillation of the weak alcoholic liquors obtained in the fermentation of sugary substances with yeast. Brandies, whiskeys, gins, rum, vodka, tequila, and liqueurs are produced by distilling. Spirits have been made in the United States since the 17th century and remain very popular. The strength of an alcoholic drink is usually expressed by comparing it with “proof spirit,” which in the United States is taken to be a mixture of equal volumes of alcohol and water. Thus 50% alcohol corresponds to 100° proof, and a drink containing 40% alcohol would be labeled 80° proof. Millions of gallons of distilled liquor are consumed in the United States every year at a cost of over $4 billion. The production of distilled alcohol is strictly controlled by law. Several thousand illegal stills are seized every year.

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