Neutral grain spirit
Neutral grain spirit (also called pure grain alcohol (PGA) or grain neutral spirit (GNS)) is a clear, colorless, flammable liquid that has been distilled from a grain-based mash to a very high level of ethanol content. The term neutral refers to the spirit's lacking the flavor that would have been present if the mash ingredients were distilled to a lower level of alcohol purity, and also lacking any flavoring added to it after distillation (as is done, for example, with gin). Other kinds of spirits, such as whisky, are distilled to a lower alcohol percentage in order to preserve the flavor of the mash.
The mash from which neutral grain spirit is produced can be any type or mixture of cereal grains.
As a defined standard of identification under U.S. law, "neutral spirits" or "neutral alcohol" are distilled spirits produced from any material at or above 95% alcohol by volume. Such a product made from grain is "grain neutral spirit," while such a spirit made from grapes is called "grape neutral spirit," and so on. When the term is used in an informal context rather than as a term of U.S. law, any distilled spirit of high alcohol purity (e.g., 170 proof or higher) that does not contain added flavoring may be referred to as neutral alcohol.
Neutral grain spirit is only one type of neutral spirit (also called neutral alcohol). Neutral alcohol can also be produced from grapes, sugar beets, sugarcane, or other fermented plant material. In particular, large quantities of neutral alcohol are distilled from wine, a product that is referred to as vinous alcohol.
Neutral grain spirit is used in the production of blended whiskey, cut brandy, some liqueurs, and some bitters. As a consumer good, it is almost always mixed with other beverages to create such drinks as punch and various cocktails, or to produce homemade liqueurs.
Availability in market areas 
Because of its high alcohol content, neutral grain spirit is illegal, unavailable, or difficult to find in many areas.
- In Canada, The Luxco product Everclear is only sold in the province of Alberta. In British Columbia, one can purchase neutral grain spirits only with a permit for medical, research, or industrial use. Neutral grain spirits are also sold in Quebec from the producer Alcool Global.
United States 
- It is illegal to sell the 190-proof variety of neutral grain spirit (i.e., Everclear, Golden Grain Alcohol, Clear Spring, Graves XXX, or Gem Clear) in some of the United States — California, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and North Carolina.
- In some of these states, the 151-proof variety of Everclear may be sold. Pennsylvania requires an application to purchase it (PLCB-2196).
- In the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia, grain alcohol lacking distinctive color, odor, and flavor, while not illegal, is not sold at any liquor stores owned by the State (compare, for example, that beverages such as Southern Comfort, a flavored liqueur that has grain alcohol as its base, are sold). Because Virginia has a self-legislated monopoly on the sale of hard liquor, independent liquor stores are illegal, and the product is thus mostly unavailable. In some cases, however, liquor stores on U.S. military bases in the Commonwealth do sell grain alcohol, and small quantities may be imported on one’s person from nearby states.
In Europe, neutral alcohol is sold in some countries. Since it is usually distilled from grain, it is in fact neutral grain spirit. This product contains 95%–95.6% ABV (190–191.2 proof) and is much used for making homemade liqueurs. In Germany, neutral alcohol is called Neutralalkohol or (colloquially) Primasprit. Primasprit is sold in stores and is most often used for making homemade liqueurs; other uses are rare.
In Italy it is called alcool puro and contains up to 95.6% ABV. It may be legally purchased by anyone over the age of 18.
There are several companies in Poland that sell neutral grain spirit. Most of these are part of a state-owned monopoly called Polmos, which is now being privatized.
In Japan, neutral grain spirit is sold in the same manner as other common liquors. It may be purchased by anyone over the age of 20 in both bars and retail stores, or on Internet shopping sites, provided that the retailer possesses a license issued by the National Tax Agency. Handling or storing more than 400 litres (105.7 US gallons) also requires a license.
In Israel, neutral grain spirit is sold in the same manner as other common liquors. It may be purchased by anyone over the age of 18 in both bars and retail stores.
Rectified spirit 
"Rectified spirit" or "rectified alcohol" is neutral alcohol which has been purified by means of "rectification" (i.e., repeated distillation). It will contain at least 95% ABV. It is normally used for medicinal purposes but can also be used to make homemade liqueurs. It can be a grain spirit or can be made from other plants.
Cultural references 
In season 5 of the sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, during the World Series Defense episode, the gang state that they drink only grain alcohol or "riot punch" before any event where a riot or brawl could occur, such as a Philadelphia Phillies World Series game.
See also 
- Rectified spirit
- Alcoholic beverage
- Alcoholic proof
- Denatured alcohol
- Distilled beverage
- Gem Clear
- Golden Grain Alcohol
- [27 CFR 5.22(a)]
- Lichine, Alexis. Alexis Lichine’s New Encyclopedia of Wines & Spirits (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987), 365.
- Results of sales of vinous alcohol held by public agencies
- 340A.506, Minnesota Statutes 2007
- http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20101130/NEWS/311300055[dead link]
- Va. Code. Ann. § 4.1-119
- Fire Safety Information (in Japanese)