Categories Moonshine

Where Do People Still Make Moonshine? (TOP 5 Tips)

In the South most people do things because it’s what their parents did and their parents before them. Making moonshine is part of Southern culture and many people do it because they take pride in it.

Is it legal to make moonshine in your state?

  • State Distilling Laws: Is it Legal to Make Moonshine in Your State? Is it legal to make moonshine in your state? If you are considering making your own moonshine whiskey, it would be a very good idea to make sure your state allows it. The thing to keep in mind is that there are federal and state laws regarding home distilling.


Where is moonshine mostly made?

The liquor has seen a popular, albeit legal, resurgence, but its roots are found in the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The liquor has seen a popular, albeit legal, resurgence, but its roots are found in the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee as well as West Virginia and Kentucky.

Does anyone still make moonshine?

Moonshine production today comes in many forms. There are still plenty of backwoods blackpot stills throughout the South, the traditional home of illegal liquor production. But there are also high-tech, larger operations organized like modern businesses.

What states can you legally make moonshine?

“Legal” Moonshining In contrast to Florida, some state’s home distilling laws allow “legal” moonshining, even though it’s considered illegal federally. Those states include Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

Do people still make moonshine illegally?

The production of moonshine — or really any spirit — without a license is prohibited by the U.S. government and is very much illegal. Clear whiskey in the style of moonshine might be for sale, but technically speaking, moonshine is moonshine because it’s produced illicitly.

Why Bacardi 151 was discontinued?

Because of its high alcohol content, Bacardi 151 was particularly flammable among liquors. While the company never issued a formal statement regarding the product’s discontinuation, it has been speculated that “it’s a pretty good guess that Bacardi got sick of being sued.”

Is Tim Smith still making legal moonshine?

However, Tim has decided to switch over and focus more on making moonshine through lawful means. He’s recently partnered with Belmont Distillery to create Climax Moonshine, his very own brand of shine that’s totally legal. The moonshine may no longer be made secretively, but Tim is still sticking to tradition.

Is owning a still illegal?

It’s perfectly legal to own a still, and you can even use it, as long as you’re not making alcohol – so, you can make essential oils without a permit, or perfume, or distilled water. According to federal law, making beverage alcohol at home is illegal, plain and simple. Why is that?

Why is moonshine so illegal?

So why is moonshine still illegal? Because the liquor is worth more to the government than beer or wine. Today, federal rules say a household with two adults can brew up to 200 gallons of wine and the same amount of beer each year. (A few states have their own laws prohibiting the practice.)

How much does 1 gallon of moonshine cost?

The selling price is around $25 a gallon if sold in bulk, or $40 for retail price. “They can make as much as $10,000 a month,” the task force said.

Is making moonshine a felony?

But federal law trumps state law, and to the feds, distilling at home for personal consumption is illegal, period. “If you distill without permits, you’re looking at roughly a dozen felonies,” says Tom Hogue, spokesman for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Is a still legal in California?

Though it is legal to own a still provided you have obtained a permit from the state authorities, a still being used to distill alcoholic beverages without a distiller’s license, can be seized by the government and is considered to be illegal according to the ABC Act, California Code Section 25352.

Is moonshining a felony?

7201, any person who willfully attempts to evade or defeat any Internal Revenue Code tax (including the tax on distilled spirits) has committed a felony and shall be fined up to $100,000, imprisoned for up to 5 years, or both, plus the cost of prosecution.

Does moonshine go bad?

Although different sources will say different things, the answer for whether moonshine can go bad or not is clear – a bottle of unflavored moonshine, much like other plain spirits, has an indefinite shelf life.

Can moonshine make you go blind?

If you’re drinking moonshine, yes. Although alcohol that’s properly manufactured and regulated does not by itself cause blindness, people sometimes do go blind from drinking bootleg beverages. One common concern with moonshine is lead poisoning, which has been linked to blindness.

Who invented moonshine?

The term moonshine has been around since the late 15th century, but it was first used to refer to liquor in the 18th century in England. The American roots of the practice (and of modern American whiskey production in general) have their origins in frontier life in Pennsylvania and other grain-producing states.

Illegal Moonshine Is Still Flowing

The 9th of April, 2002 – In the hills of southern Virginia, the moonshining industry is still going strong, as shown by the potent, illicit white lightning that has been produced in backwoods stills for hundreds of years. Following a combination federal and state operation on illicit booze in Virginia known as Operation Lightning Strike, many people were convicted. The convictions represent the latest chapter in the centuries-old conflict between moonshiners and the authorities. Over the course of three years, Operation Lightning Strike dismantled a multimillion-dollar ring that supplied tons of sugar, bottling supplies, and other equipment and materials used in the production of thousands of gallons of moonshine to customers throughout the country.

According to federal investigators, Stanley and other members of his family operated an illicit booze company for more than 30 years before being forced to close their doors.

The Farmers Exchange in Rocky Mount was also closed as part of the combined federal-state operation, according to officials, which provided enough sugar to moonshiners to produce about 1.5 million gallons of the illicit alcoholic beverage in the backwoods.

Who is responsible for it?

  • Throughout the South, which has long been the center of illegal booze manufacture, there are still plenty of backwoods blackpot stills to be found.
  • Distilleries are sometimes tucked away in houses, garages, secret subterranean basements, or even caves cut into the side of mountains.
  • Marijuana and stolen items are occasionally dealt in by the more established businesses.
  • While the moonshine industry in Virginia may be booming, it may be on the verge of extinction in other parts of the country.
  • According to him, “we’re still putting out anywhere between two and four stills a year, largely in east and northeast Texas, mostly with older people.” “I think it’s simply a sort of ancient family custom; they’ve been doing it for so long that they don’t know how to stop,” says the author.
  • Hale believes that after they are gone, the production of moonshine in the region may come to a stop.
  • The low cost of moonshine and the lengthy heritage of moonshine production ensure the survival of the illegal liquor trade.

According to the cheapest white lightning available, it can be purchased for as little as $5 a gallon, which is a fifth to a tenth of the price of legal liquor.

A large part of its appeal can be attributed to its inexpensive cost.

Larger enterprises frequently sell to wholesalers, who package the booze in six-packs of thick, plastic gallon jugs and distribute it to retailers.

“They’ve been drinking it for so long that they’ve come to enjoy it,” Driskill adds.

Home Brew beer and wine, but not alcoholic beverages…

There are also state and local regulations prohibiting the manufacture of alcoholic beverages, as well as a variety of levies levied on the production of alcoholic beverages.

Even while moonshining is normally simply a misdemeanor under state law, the federal government often imposes substantially harsher penalties.

Bill Davis, a Rocky Mount attorney who has defended a number of moonshiners over the years, is critical of Operation Lightning Strike’s “heavy-handed” methods, which he describes as “unnecessarily harsh.” His opinion: “I believe that the administration overstated everything, as they typically do.” As far as he is concerned, moonshining is a small-scale problem that should be dealt with by local authorities.

  1. Moonshine is not only illegal, but it may also be quite deadly.
  2. Some distillers have also used dangerous additives like as lye, rubbing alcohol, paint thinner, and other chemicals.
  3. Making Moonshine is a simple process.
  4. The name itself goes back to the 15th century, and it is said to have referred to work done at night, under the illumination of the moon.
  5. However, just a little portion of it is aged in order to soften the unusually sharp flavor.
  6. It is the first stage in the production of moonshine to ferment in “mash” kegs a mixture of rye, sugar, maize, yeast, and/or other components.
  7. Modern stills often just employ electric power or propane, in order to minimize the unmistakable plumes of smoke that are released when the mash is “cooked.” In order to bring in fresh water without being noticed, some people employ intricate plumbing systems.

Some bootleggers even offer tasting facilities where consumers may try out their wares before purchasing them.

One type of whiskey, known as milky whiskey, is said to have more in common with lighter fluid than Jack Daniels by some consumers.

Fresh apples, red damsonberries, bananas, hazelnuts, and any other ingredients that strike the distiller’s fancy are frequently used to make illegal “brandy” whiskey.

Because of the wide range of quality — as well as the lack of health and safety regulations — moonshine drinkers have developed centuries-old methods of evaluating their brews.

The approach is not recommended by health professionals.

After Prohibition and the Great Depression took their toll on the economy, there was an increase in production, which was met with resistance at first by “revenuers” from the Treasury Department, and then by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

“That was the time period when moonshine was really popular — in the 1950s and 1960s,” recalls Thomas Allison, 76, who worked as an agent for the Treasury Department and then the ATF, pursuing illegal liquor manufacturers.

They began conducting nighttime infrared flights in order to detect illegal stills cooking in the dark.

However, as the federal government shifted its attention elsewhere, the moonshine trade began to resurface once more. “It’s a simple matter of supply and demand,” Allison explains. Learn about the history of moonshine by clicking on the links below.

Where to Find Moonshine in the South

Copper is still used. Lightning takes the form of a white dot. Mountain dew is a kind of dew found in the mountains. Hooch. In some people’s minds, moonshine conjures up images of backwoods “pappies” making whiskey in creeks, all at the danger of being apprehended by the feds. The popular television showMoonshiners, as well as the filmLawless, are also worth seeing. One thing is clear, and that is that illegally made, high strength, unfiltered maize whiskey can only be found in the southern United States.

  1. It made extensive use of maize, which grows readily in the region, and frequently included fruits such as peaches to add taste.
  2. The origins of NASCAR may be traced back to moonshiners and their specially prepared trucks, according to historical records.
  3. It’s frequently in the neighborhood of 100 proof or more.
  4. are all used in the production of whiskey, and they are mixed and processed in three stages: fermentation, distillation, and condensation.
  5. While exploring the town of Greensboro, Georgia, I stopped into the local newspaper, where I was greeted by the editor, who handed me a glass of peach moonshine.
  6. a few days later.
  7. Although the liquor has had a rebirth in popularity, although legal, in recent years, its origins may be traced back to the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
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Although moonshine country stretches beyond these states, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States reports that the biggest number of illicit stills have been recovered in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama.

Many of the same family recipes are used in legal forms; the only difference is that there is greater government monitoring and that there are many more taxes.

When properly prepared, you might be surprised at how palatable moonshine can be when combined into a cocktail in lieu of just about any other type of booze.

However, some distilleries sell their maize whiskey using the term “moonshine” rather than the word “whiskey,” and they do it in a traditional manner.

Moonshine in Georgia

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Dawson County, Georgia, was the epicenter of moonshine production in the state, supplying booze to Atlanta during the Prohibition era. Counties in the surrounding area, including Gilmer, Pickens, and Lumpkin, also had illegal moonshine operations. Some men, such as Simmie Free, who grew up in Rabun County in another mountain county, began distilling with his father when he dropped out of second grade. Today, you can relive the history of moonshine at the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery, which employs a formula that was passed down from Free’s grandfather.

Ivy Mountain Distillery LLC, which is owned and operated by Carlos Lovell, halted their illicit activities in the 1960s but now produces a legal version of their sour mash utilizing Georgia goods, albeit their distillery is not exposed to the general public.

His recipe was passed down through the generations.

Moonshine in North Carolina

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When it comes to moonshine in North Carolina, the tale is largely concentrated upon Wilkes County, which federal tax collectors dubbed “the moonshine capital of the world.” Although some may disagree with the designation, it is undeniable that the mountains of North Carolina have a long and illustrious history of illegal booze production. Some of these traditions have survived into the present era. One such distillery is Call Family Distillers, which is run by “The Uncatchable” Willie Call. An ancestor of Jack Daniel’s collaborated with the corporation in the 1800s before selling his interest in the business.

Piedmont Distillers Inc., the state’s first authorized distillery, was established in 2005 as a for-profit corporation.

A second distillery in Asheville, the Asheville Distilling Company, commonly known as Troy and Son, manufactures “genuine American moonshine” using only the finest ingredients available.

Moonshine in Tennessee

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Blount, Polk, and Sevier counties were among the counties where moonshining took place in Tennessee, in the area now known as the Great Smoky Mountains. Popcorn Sutton, for example, gained to prominence in the 1960s as a result of his illicit moonshine distillation operations in Cocke County, Tennessee, and Maggie Valley, North Carolina. He committed himself in 2009 in order to escape serving time in prison, but his memory lives on through the Tennessee White Whiskey created by his wife and Hank Williams Jr.

The number of tasting rooms in the area has increased dramatically in recent years, with Ole Smoky Distillery being one of the most well-known.

In addition to Thunder Road Distillery and Old Forge Distillery, which are located in Kodak and Pigeon Forge, respectively, Cocke County Moonshine Distillery is located in a more rural setting yet produces a more genuine product.

Related Reading

  • Moonshine: A Life in Pursuit of White Liquorby Alec Wilkinson
  • “Is moonshine simply lousy whiskey?,” by Alec Wilkinson
  • “Is moonshine just poor whiskey?,” by Alec Wilkinson British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC Travel)
  • The Lovells of North Georgia Moonshine: A History of the Lovell Family Judy Garrison wrote Other Liquor Makers, and Joseph Earl Dabney wrote Mountain Spirits. ” Moonshine” can be found in the New Georgia Encyclopedia, and ” Moonshine” can be found in the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.

Have you ever tried moonshine?

The Georgia Department of Tourism, Travel South USA, Visit North Carolina, Geiger Public Relations, and the Tennessee Department of Tourism all provided assistance in conducting research for this piece.

Moonshine Makes a Comeback: A Quick Look at the Illicit Alcohol

I’ve spent the better part of half a century (yikes) writing for radio and print, with the most of my work appearing in print. I hope to be still hammering away on the keyboard when I take my final exhale. In order to raise funds following the American Revolution, the United States government imposed a tax on alcoholic beverages (including whiskey). It didn’t take long before the entrepreneurial spirit was reawakened, and individuals began distilling their own alcoholic beverages in isolation, deep within the wooded hills.

This has resulted in increasing production and consumption.

How Moonshine is Made

Corn, sugar, water, and yeast are the basic components for making clandestine liquor, and they’re easy to get by. Allow that mixture to simmer for a time to allow the alcohol to be produced. Mountain dew is produced after the alcohol has been condensed in a still, which is referred to as “mountain dew.” However, there is a certain amount of expertise required, which most people in the trade undoubtedly “learned from my granddaddy.” The ethanol that the moonshiner is seeking for is what he wants.

  1. Despite the fact that car radiators have been repurposed for this purpose, there is always the risk of residual antifreeze making its way into the finished product.
  2. Amateurs occasionally produce rotgut liquor that has an excessive amount of methanol.
  3. The Indian subcontinent, on the other hand, is experiencing a situation that does not exist in America.
  4. There are a slew of such instances.

This Backwoods Booze Is an Acquired Taste

Unlike illicit whiskey, illicit wubbly pop is rarely aged in barrels, whereas illicit whiskey is consumed immediately after manufacturing. As the name implies, the substance is mainly produced at night in order to evade discovery. While it is often linked with Appalachia, skullpop, as it is often referred as, may be found practically anywhere in the United States of America. An imbiber doesn’t have to look very far to get anything to drink. A book on the moonshine trade was written by Betty Boles Ellison in 2003 called Illegal Odyssey: 200 Years of Kentucky Moonshine, which was published by Random House.

Cobb’s description of the product of local stills: “It smells like gangrene beginning in an old silo; it tastes like the vengeance to come; and when you take a full drink of it, you get all the feelings associated with swallowing a lighted kerosene lamp.” With a maraschino cherry on top, of course.

Irresistible. North Carolina is still regarded as a historical landmark. Brian Stansberry is an American actor and director.

Read More From Delishably

Despite the fact that moonshine has become the drink du jour in some circles, it is still illegal to produce it in many areas of the United States. Fines and prison time of up to $15,000 and five years in the United States are possible penalties for conviction in this country. The fact that the booze is tax-free is, of course, the main draw of the drink. Those that manufacture and sell the eye-watering liquid packaged in Mason jars do not report their earnings as income either. The authorities are a little miffed about this.

A 30-month jail term, $60,000 in reparations, and the loss of two boats, a pickup truck, and a vehicle were the result of this conviction.

Here’s an example of a CNN report from 2015: In 2008, when the global financial crisis reached the Appalachian heartlands, counties all throughout the area seized the opportunity to capitalize on one of the few remaining growing sectors by legalizing moonshine.” Tennesse’s first legal distillery, which opened its doors in 2010, was followed by others across the state, including Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.” The authorities seized a shipment of moonshine that had been sent in 1922.

The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information.

Why It Is Gaining Popularity Again

The sight of a flagon of moonshine sitting next to a bottle of Glenmorangie single-malt Scottish whisky is not something that most people would expect to see, yet it does occur. Claire Prentice of the BBC reports that foodies, following the trend for artisanal goods, are adopting illicit liquor as an alternative beverage to give to guests at dinner parties and events. As Max Watman, author of the 2010 book Chasing the White Dog, has stated, “the public’s perception of illegal booze has shifted tremendously.” The stigma has been lifted.

The Booming Moonshine Industry

Colonel Vaughn Wilson is unsurprised by the growing popularity of moonshine in recent years. It is his specialty to create “custom handmade copper stills, which are created here in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas by the Colonel himself.” These copper stills have the greatest appearance possible, thanks to the combination of old-fashioned craftsmanship and a few contemporary accents.” According to the Colonel, the demand for his products has increased by a factor of two in the last few years.

As soon as he has lauded the distilling merits of his equipment, the Colonel declares (probably with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek) on his website, “All copper stills are marketed as art décor exclusively.” However, by posting recipes for such delights as Jalapeno Shine, Robert’s Cherry Bomb, and Black Beard’s Rum on his website, the colonel appears to be undermining his promise that they would not be utilized as working hard liquor factories.

Bonus Factoids

  • For generations, people have used the inside of tall boots as a suitable spot to conceal contraband, as well as knives and firearms. Therefore, it was amid a number of attempts to outlaw the sale and use of alcoholic beverages that individuals began to conceal a flask of whiskey in their boots. Bootleggers were born out of necessity, according to NASCAR, when “a group of dirt poor good ol’ guys who resided ranging from Virginia on down to Georgia had no option but to rely on the illicit whiskey industry.” They revved up their automobiles in order to outrun tax collectors on the winding back roads of the countryside. As a result, bootleggers began competing against one another on roads and subsequently on crude rails. The teams playing on the NASCAR circuit are believed to be worth $1.4 billion today
  • In 1791, the United States government implemented a tax on alcoholic beverages. As a result of distillers’ refusal to pay the tax, a mob of 500 people descended on the West Pennsylvania residence of the Inspector General of Taxes. At the leadership of 13,000 militiamen, George Washington rode into battle with the goal of bringing down the insurgents. In the end, the so-called Whiskey Rebellion came to a peaceful conclusion without any bloodshed. Eventually, the government understood that trying to collect the tax from such independent-minded distillers would be futile, and the statute was abolished in 1801 as a result.
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  • “Moonshine ‘Tempts a New Generation,'” says the article. “North Carolina Man Sentenced for Making Moonshine,” by Claire Prentice, BBC News, July 18, 2010
  • “North Carolina Man Sentenced for Making Moonshine.” “Exploding Moonshine: The New Golden Age of Outlaw Liquor,” by Lauren King, published in The Virginian-Pilot on January 7, 2010. CNN, June 17, 2015
  • Kieron Monks, CNN, June 17, 2015

2017 Rupert Taylor & Co.

Why Is Making Moonshine Illegal? A Brief History with an Unexpected Bite

Moonshine has seen somewhat of a rebirth in recent years. Moonshine, the colloquial term for clear, non-barrel-aged whiskey — and, on occasion, other home-distilled spirits — has piqued the interest of a younger generation of drinkers, prompting the publication of books on the subject and the launch of upscale whiskey brands that use the term “moonshine” in their branding. In fact, there’s a Discover Channel show called Moonshiners that focuses on the American folk heritage of home-brewed handmade whiskey production.

  1. The manufacturing of moonshine — or, for that matter, any spirit — without a license is strictly outlawed by the United States government and is considered to be highly unlawful.
  2. Despite the fact that clear whiskey in the manner of moonshine is available for purchase, moonshine is still considered moonshine since it is created illegally.
  3. Because of this, those who violate the federal law may face various federal offenses, including tax evasion, which may result in up to 10 years imprisonment on top of confiscation and forfeiture of the land that was utilized for the illicit activity.
  4. NPS

Why is Moonshine Illegal?

“While many individuals are aware that distilling alcohol at home is against the law, many are unsure as to why or how these rules came to be,” says the author. According to Colin Spoelman, co-founder of Brooklyn’sKings County Distillery and author ofGuide to Urban Moonshining: How to Make and Drink Whiskey, Inverse is a great source of information. On the surface, the legislation appears to be illogical, but when you dive a bit further into its history, it becomes a little more evident. Instead than the government being concerned that you’ll go blind from drinking moonshine, the limitations on moonshine are mostly based on taxation.

Because, after all, they had recently won a battle against the British government’s tax duties, the American farmers who produce the grain used in moonshine were not going to take it lying down.

Fast forward to the age of the Civil War, when it was formally declared that creating moonshine without paying taxes was unlawful.

This legislation, among other things, formally put a tax on alcoholic beverages, making it much more difficult to get away with distilling without a permission.

Unfortunately, this included the production of homemade spirits, and it has been unlawful to produce spirits in private residences in the United States ever since.

Is It Actually Dangerous?

The federal government claims that the legality of home distilling is a method of protecting consumers in today’s craft liquor boom. However, many people believe that it is a barrier. One method by which the government has been able to advertise this rule is by implying that moonshine-making at home is harmful since it has the potential to be contaminated with toxic heavy metal particles. There are other concerns that may be avoided, including tainting the spirit with methanol, which has been linked to blindness in the past.

As Spoelman points out, “Moonshine manufacturing has frequently been portrayed as harmful in popular culture.” “Throughout history, governments have tended to exaggerate the threat of terrorism in order to increase tax revenue.” In general, the government has always placed a high level of scrutiny on the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

So How Come People Still Make Moonshine?

You might be thinking at this point if it’s really worth the effort to make your own moonshine in the first place. Despite the fact that moonshining is illegal, each state approaches the issue in a somewhat different way. As a result of their past with renegade moonshiners, states in the South, such as the Carolinas, Virginia, and Florida, tend to have stronger enforcement, according to Spoelman. In spite of the fact that you may reside in a state such as Missouri, where a person may legally create up to 100 gallons of spirits per year without obtaining a licence, Spoelman warns that distilling your own moonshine is still an extremely dangerous endeavor.

As it turns out, while it’s simple to acquire the equipment needed to produce moonshine online, the Tennessee Bureau of Liquor Control has been known to crack down on unregistered stills.

According to the providers, this is necessary in order to remain within the legal parameters.

Moonshine Laws

When it comes to alcoholic beverages, the phrase “moonshine” can apply to a variety of distinct types of liquor. Historically, the term “moonshine” referred to whiskey that was produced and distilled in one’s own house. When alcohol was outlawed in the United States during the Prohibition era, the phrase “bathtub gin” was used to refer to home-brewed moonshine, which was produced in bathtubs. Moonshine is often created from a type of maize mash or a combination of corn mashes. People today manufacture artisan moonshine out of a sense of nostalgia and a desire for a particular flavor profile.

However, distilling alcohol in one’s house, even for personal consumption, is prohibited under federal law.

These facilities produced legal moonshine for the purpose of sale and distribution.

Because of its portrayal of cultural past, the product quickly gained popularity. Moonshine has always held a prominent position in the American imagination, and its resurgence in popularity in the twenty-first century has resulted in increased tourism revenue for local vendors.

Is Moonshine Illegal?

There are federal and state laws that prohibit the manufacture of alcoholic beverages for the purpose of distribution or sale to the general public. It is allowed under federal law to own a still of any size without obtaining a permission; nevertheless, a permit is necessary in order to make alcohol with the still. Regardless of how large the still is, it is still a still. Stills pose genuine dangers and concerns, which is why they are subjected to extensive regulation. A federal distilled spirits permit is required in order to lawfully manufacture and distribute alcoholic beverages for the purpose of sale and distribution.

They are both pricey and difficult to get by in large quantities.

Is Moonshine Illegal in my State?

State regulations on the legality of home distilling differ significantly from one another. The possession of a still is prohibited by law in certain states, although it is not prohibited by law in others. It is sometimes lawful to own a still, but you may be subject to a modest fine for the act of making and producing alcoholic beverages. If the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau demands them, still titles and permissions may be necessary. It is against the law in every country to sell alcohol to minors.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you have been charged with home distilling, you should speak with a drug attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer will assist you in determining your alternatives and developing your best case, as well as representing you throughout plea negotiations and in court. The most recent update was made on June 19, 2018. Disclaimer for the Law Library

Why is it against the law to make moonshine?

Moonshine On Wednesday, two Georgia men entered guilty pleas to charges of running a moonshine still in the Chattahoochee National Forest, according to court documents. Bootleggers risk up to 35 years in jail for their offences, which include manufacturing the beer, selling it, and failing to pay taxes on the revenues of their sales. When the Explainer was in college, he had pals who made their own beer, which was not against the law at the time. So, why is moonshine still prohibited in the United States?

  1. A tax of $2.14 is levied on each 750-milliliter bottle of 80-proof spirits, compared to 21 cents for a bottle of wine (with 14 percent alcohol or less) and 5 cents for a can of beer, according to Uncle Sam.
  2. In 2005, spirits produced lawfully contributed about $5 billion to the federal excise tax on alcoholic beverages.
  3. However, a rising number of oenophiles and beer lovers wanted to produce their own, and they worked to persuade Congress to legalize homebrewing across the country, which was ultimately successful.
  4. (A number of states have passed legislation outlawing the practice.) The 1978 legislation, on the other hand, did not legalize moonshining; you are still not permitted to make spirits for personal use.
  5. (In certain places, commercial distillers sell a legal form of moonshine, which you may obtain from them.) Despite popular belief, not everyone who consumes moonshine does so just for the purpose of becoming drunk quickly and cheaply.
  6. These days, moonshine is even becoming more posh, thanks to a new generation of amateur distillers in the United States.
  7. Authorities have said that moonshine poses major health hazards, including heavy metal poisoning, as a result of its production.
  8. Because there is no inspection throughout the production process, the quality—as well as the degrees of contamination—can vary.
  9. Other than getting drunk and doing something stupid—like assaulting someone with a chainsaw with a fire extinguisher—the biggest concern is lead poisoning, which may occur when a homemade still is constructed from car radiators or pipes that have been hazardously soldered together.
  10. Inquire with the Explainer.

Correction received on October 26, 2007: Brewing any type of alcoholic beverage at home was prohibited under the original version of the law. Prior to 1978, the government had essentially granted permission for winemaking. (Return to the sentence that has been fixed.)

Moonshine’s Gone Legit But It Still Is Dangerous

Photograph by Scott Olson / Getty Images Home-distilled moonshine, formerly a closely guarded secret of Appalachian backwoods, is still in existence to this day. In fact, it is now officially legal. “White lightning,” as it is referred as, was originally considered an illegal and dangerous chemical by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, but it is now approved for sale and controlled by the federal government in select states in the United States. Several other states, including Alabama, Georgia, and Kentucky, have followed suit.

Many believe that over a million illegal moonshine stills are currently operating throughout the United States, making the manufacture of clear, high-potency drink more ubiquitous and pervasive than at any other time in history.

What Is Moonshine?

When you make moonshine, you’re fermenting a sugar source to generate ethanol, which is also called as “hooch” or “homebrew.” The traditional method of making moonshine is to boil maize and sugar together. A distillation procedure is used to remove the alcohol from the mash after it has been fermented. One significant distinction between moonshine and other alcoholic beverages such as whiskey or bourbon is that moonshine is not matured. It is the end product of this process that creates an alcoholic beverage with a high proportion of alcohol, often several times larger than 100 proof (50 percent), such as white whiskey.

That is, the ability to purchase commercially made, all-copper moonshine stills on the internet has removed a significant amount of the danger associated with the moonshine distillation process.

Plenty of moonshine is still being produced in stills constructed from vehicle radiator components and other potentially hazardous items.

Impact of Moonshine

Once upon a time, moonshine was a significant financial component of the Appalachian economy, serving as a source of money during difficult economic times and in places where poverty was prevalent. Moonshine, like every other product manufactured in the United States, underwent peaks and troughs in the supply and demand cycle. When the price of sugar increased in the United States beginning in the 1950s, the moonshine industry suffered a severe downturn. The spirit appeared to be slipping away as the United States witnessed a surge in the use of marijuana and prescription medications, which reached epidemic levels in the region.

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With the current trend toward increasing costs at the liquor shop, particularly for foreign spirits, moonshining has re-entered the public consciousness.

Tennessee legalized the sale of alcoholic beverages at large box retailers such as Walmart and Sam’s Club the following year.

They are available for purchase for anything from $150 to $11,000, and everything in between. The demand for copper stills, according to one supplier, has more than doubled in the last few years, and he has sold copper stills to every state in the United States.

Potential Dangers

Because illegal moonshine is manufactured in improvised stills, it remains a potentially lethal substance. It has the potential to be hazardous on two levels: during the distillation process and when it is consumed.

Distilling Process

The distillation process itself generates flammable alcohol vapors, which are released during the operation. The presence of flammable vapors is one of the primary reasons that moonshine stills are nearly always situated outside, despite the fact that this makes them more visible to law authorities. The danger of vaporous explosions is too large to be contained within the building. When it comes to eating the liquid, if the end result has a proof more than 100, the moonshine itself is incredibly flammable and may be quite hazardous.


However, while the flammability of the distilling process and the product itself is a concern, more people have died from drinking moonshine than have perished in still explosions owing to the poisons in the brew, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Despite the fact that the majority of stills in use today are of the all-copper form, there are still a significant number of old-fashioned handcrafted stills extant. Traditionally, antique stills have used automobile radiators in the distillation process, and they are more likely to contain lead soldering, which can contaminate the moonshine.

  1. Methanol tainting may develop in bigger quantities of distilled moonshine, and it is especially common in older batches.
  2. The greater the batch size, the greater the amount of methanol.
  3. Methanol is extremely dangerous and can result in blindness or even death if inhaled.
  4. Christopher Holstege, a physician affiliated with the University of Virginia Health System, conducted a research in 2004 in which he examined 48 samples of moonshine acquired by law enforcement from various stills.

How to Test for Purity

According to folklore, one method of determining the purity of moonshine is to pour some onto a metal spoon and light it on fire. Although lead is not harmful when burned with a blue flame, it is harmful when burned with a yellow or red flame, leading the ancient adage, “Lead burns red and makes you dead.” The spoon burning approach, on the other hand, is not fully dependable. Other poisons that may be present in the brew, such as methanol, which burns with a bright blue flame that is difficult to notice, are not detected by this method.

Public health experts are afraid that moonshine poisoning in unwell people may go unnoticed since most healthcare practitioners regard it to be an outmoded practice from years ago.

History of Moonshine

As far as historians can tell, the practice of manufacturing alcohol has been present since the dawn of civilization. Moonshine, in particular, is said to have been brought into the United States by Scotch-Irish immigrants in the late 1700s, notably in the southern Appalachian region. According to Appalachian anthropologists, the Scotch-Irish immigrants who relocated to the region in the late 1700s and early 1800s carried with them their practice of home brewing as well as their formula for high-potency hooch, which was popular during the time period.

As a result, it may be kept concealed from prying eyes such as the police or hungry neighbors “Jason Sumich, Department of Anthropology, Appalachian State University, believes this is correct.

The side of the antique clay jars was frequently marked with the letters “XXX.” Supposedly, each “X” reflected the number of times the drink had gone through the distillation process before it was bottled.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Moonshine’s History

Moonshine has a rich history that is as diverse as the many different forms of the spirit itself. The majority of people are aware of the infamous side of the country’s history, yet this uniquely American spirit has many attributes that should be honored today. Do you still not believe us? Here are five interesting facts about this specialized spirit that you probably didn’t know.

1. Not all moonshine is illegal, nor is it dangerous.

Moonshiners have always produced their own booze in order to circumvent compliance with laws, taxes, and regulations. Bad batches or poor manufacturing procedures (such as distilling in vehicle radiators) might result in a product containing high levels of potentially hazardous substances, such as methanol, if there were no FDA inspectors present to guarantee that safety and quality criteria were fulfilled. Consuming methanol can cause the blood to become acidic, which can result in blindness, convulsions, and even death.

If their booze was substandard, or if people became ill or died as a result of drinking it, the moonshiner responsible would be forced out of business.

Because the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) does not have an official definition for moonshine, it is often classified as a “other” or “specialty spirit” under the categorization “other spirits.” According to Colin Blake, Moonshine University’s Director of Spirits Education, “Moonshine continues to be the Wild West of spirits, but not for legal reasons.” As opposed to other spirits, legally manufactured moonshine can be prepared from any source material, at any proof, with any coloring or flavoring added — the whole shebang.

There are no guidelines regarding how it should be classified.” In other words, the “moonshine” name that we see on a variety of spirits today is a movable feast.

It is used to refer to liquor that does not fall into a single category and is used as an all-encompassing word. In other words, the moonshine you buy at your local liquor shop is legal and safe for use under reasonable conditions.

2. A triple X once indicated a moonshine’s quality.

You might recall seeing allusions to moonshine in a jug with the letter XXX in it throughout popular culture. Due to the fact that these Xs were formerly used to denote how many times a batch of moonshine had been put through the still in typical DIY fashion, Prior to the invention of current distillation processes and equipment, moonshiners were required to execute three runs in order to get a higher, purer alcohol level – typically much above 80 percent ABV. A batch of beer ended up in a jug labeled with three double X’s by the time it was truly completed.

Although early moonshine was made illegally, this does not imply that the distillers were unconcerned with the quality of the product they were producing.

That emotion continues on in many current (and now legally created) moonshines that are consumed today, and it will be indelibly etched in the annals of moonshine history for generations to come.

3. Moonshine inspired NASCAR.

For the avoidance of doubt, moonshiners produce the whiskey while bootleggers carry it. The name “bootlegger” was used in the 1880s to describe smugglers who would conceal flasks in the tips of their boots. Of course, as automobiles entered the scene, the term’s definition was broadened to include anybody involved in smuggling booze. As troops returned home from World War II, equipped with new mechanical abilities, they immediately found work as bootleggers in their own areas. Modifying automobiles allowed these modern bootleggers to increase the amount of moonshine they could carry while also gaining the driving abilities essential to escape the authorities.

More than just a source of bragging rights, this rite laid the groundwork for the modern-day NASCAR.

To this day, the official spirit of NASCAR is produced at the moonshine-based distillerySugarlands Distilling Co.

There, they manufacture ” Sugarlands Shine ” in a range of unique tastes ranging from old fashioned lemonade and blueberry muffin to maple bacon, root beer, and peanut butter and jelly.

4. America’s first legal moonshine distillery was launched in 2005.

Piedmont Distillers, based in Madison, North Carolina, boasts the distinction of being the first legal moonshine business in the United States, as well as the state’s first legal distillery since Prohibition ended the prohibition era. Additionally, in addition to being a part of the history of moonshine, Piedmont’s whole company is dedicated to telling the unique tale of moonshine. A triple-distilled moonshine (remember those three Xs?) made with formulas given down from famed moonshiner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson, their Midnight Moonmoonshine is made using recipes passed down from Junior Johnson.

Since 2005, several legal moonshine distilleries have sprung up around the United States, including Sugarlands (Tennessee) and Call Family Distillers, which is likewise situated in North Carolina but produces in Tennessee.

5. Mountain Dew was originally created as a chaser for whiskey.

The brilliant yellow beverage you’re undoubtedly familiar with was called after a slang phrase for mountain-brewed moonshine, which you may not have realized at the time of its introduction. Yes, you are correct. In Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1932, brothers Barney and Ally Hartman invented the lemon-lime cocktail as a whiskey chaser for their friends. In accordance with the Smithsonian Institution, the name “Mountain Dew” was chosen to stress the intended usage of their beverage, which was emphasized further by the existence of the original brand mascot, “Willy the Hillbilly,” and his slogan, “It’ll tickle yore innards.” As a result of PepsiCo’s acquisition of Mountain Dew in 1964, distribution was increased beyond Tennessee and throughout the rest of the United States.

  1. Although the brand’s link with moonshine has developed since then, its legacy is still alive and well.
  2. Check out this article.
  3. You’ll receive comprehensive, practical, and hands-on training from industry professionals throughout the program.
  4. More information is available here: Content that is related Moonshine University is holding a celebration of the “Moonshine.” The StaveThief Society has officially launched.

Why Is It Called Moonshine?

Have you ever wondered where the term “moonshine” came from? What is the origin of the term “moonshine”? Moonshine, which is often created from maize, is a kind of whiskey that has not been matured. You would question, though, why it isn’t called maize whiskey or grain whiskey instead. How did the term “moonshine” come to be, which is today a well-known brand of alcoholic beverage? The solution to this question is centered on the unlawful state that is related with the question. Typically possessing a high concentration of alcohol, moonshine is whiskey that has been illicitly made at home by a family member.

Originally, this verb referred to any action that took place throughout the night, but when it entered the United States, the meaning of the word changed.

The whiskey was not created just for recreational purposes, but also to provide food for families.

Paying hefty taxes meant that they had less cash to spend on their families’ food.

Every penny they earned was extremely valuable to them, and they needed to retain it.

The moonshiners proceeded to conduct their operations in the depths of the backwoods, where it would be difficult to detect them in order to escape being apprehended by the police.

Hence, moonshine became the term for the spirit.

This is somewhat correct, however any illegally produced alcoholic beverage is referred to as moonshine.

This, however, was not whiskey, but rather rum.

Moonshine was the name given to this alcoholic beverage since it was created illegally and late at night with the help of the moonlight.

Then there’s the great question: is the legalized alcohol still referred to as moonshine, despite the fact that the word moonshine is used to refer to alcohol that has been unlawfully distilled?

Although the moonshine seen in shops has been legalized, the processes and formulas used in distilling the illicit moonshine have remained the same, resulting in the same product with the same experience, and therefore the word “moonshine” has been retained. TN Shine Company, Inc.

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