Categories Moonshine

Why Is Making Moonshine Illigal? (TOP 5 Tips)

So why is moonshine still illegal? Because the liquor is worth more to the government than beer or wine. Uncle Sam takes an excise tax of $2.14 for each 750-milliliter bottle of 80-proof spirits, compared with 21 cents for a bottle of wine (of 14 percent alcohol or less) and 5 cents for a can of beer.

  • This tension eventually led to the Whiskey Rebellion, in which George Washington lead a crackdown on farmers making money by distilling their grain into moonshine. Fast forward to the Civil War era, and making moonshine without paying taxes was officially deemed illegal.

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Is making moonshine for personal use illegal?

To be clear, it’s illegal to make moonshine without a license from the federal government. If you’re willing to throw down the time, money and pain involved in getting a Federal liquor distiller’s license, you can make your own moonshine all day long legally.

Why is illegal liquor called moonshine?

The term “moonshine” comes from the fact that illegal spirits were made under the light of the moon. In every part of America, early moonshiners worked their stills at night to avoid detection from authorities. The United States started taxing liquors and spirits shortly after the American Revolution.

What happens if you get caught making moonshine?

Offenses under this section are felonies that are punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, for each offense. 5601(a)(1) – Possession of an unregistered still.

Is it legal to own a still?

“The process of breaking it down, when the molecule gets broken down, it turns into something that’s very, very dangerous to living cells.” Distilling spirits at home without a license is illegal, but it is legal to buy distilling equipment.

Why is moonshine called white lightning?

White lightning, a white whiskey made surreptitiously and illegally, was once produced in great quantities in South Carolina. It got its name from its color and the kick it delivers when consumed.

Is Everclear moonshine?

Both Everclear and Moonshine are unaged spirits; however, Everclear is made from grain and Moonshine from corn. Everclear is a brand name of a neutral-tasting, very potent grain alcohol. Moonshine is a general term used to describe illegally produced corn whiskey.

Is moonshine bad for?

Illegal moonshine remains dangerous because it is mostly brewed in makeshift stills. It can be dangerous on two levels, both during the distilling process and when consuming it.

What states allow home distilling?

This tax is built into every bottle of spirits you buy so it’s not a special tax on home made spirits. If you do the calculations, you’ll find your favourite spirits cost up to 90% less when you take the tax off.

How much is a gallon of real moonshine?

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.

What states is it legal to make moonshine in?

“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.

How much whiskey can you make legally?

In general, most of the states hold distillation of whiskey (and other spirits) to be illegal, but there are some definite exceptions. Missouri, for example, allows residents to distill up to 100 gallons of spirits a year.

How much homebrew Can I legally make?

Most states permit homebrewing of 100 US gallons (380 l) of beer per adult (of 21 years or older) per year and up to a maximum of 200 US gallons (760 l) per household annually when there are two or more adults residing in the household.

Is it illegal to make moonshine?

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

What is moonshine and why is it illegal?

  • 10:47 a.m. ET on December 16, 2020
  • Updated at 10:50 a.m. ET on December 16, 2020

MOONSHINE is a phrase that is frequently used to describe alcoholic beverages that are stronger than usual. Its origins may be traced back to the Prohibition era in the 1930s. Drinks labeled as ‘Moonshine’ are still often imitated and served in the southern United States, and the term has long been connected with the world of NASCAR racing.

But what exactly is moonshine, and is it harmful? 2 Moonshine is a general slang phrase that refers to potently powerful and illegally produced alcoholic spirits, which are commonly prepared at home by inexperienced distillers and distillers. Image courtesy of Getty Images – Getty Images

What is moonshine?

Moonshine is a general slang phrase that refers to alcoholic spirits that are extremely powerful and are produced illegally. Bootleggers, who attempted to manufacture and sell alcoholic beverages during the Prohibition era, were the first to be connected with the term. Despite the fact that moonshine is still used to describe unlawful homemade alcohol in modern times, certain certified distilleries will frequently offer beverages that are labeled as moonshine for their novelty value or to explain their stronger than usual flavor.

However, the term “moonshine” may be used to describe anything that is considered to be powerful, handmade, and unlawful – such as strong varieties of whiskey or “bathtub” gin – without implying that it is illegal.

Why is making moonshine illegal in the US?

Distilling is illegal in the United States and in the majority of European countries. There are a variety of reasons why governments prefer to prohibit its citizens from manufacturing their own alcoholic beverages at home. To be more specific, several nations prohibit the purchase or possession of any form of still (the vessel used in the distillation of spirits). Officially, the United States government considers moonshine to be a “fanciful phrase” and does not regulate its production or use.

Until 1978, it was against the law to make your own liquor or beer at home.

A family of two people is now permitted to produce 200 gallons of wine and the equivalent quantity of beer each year, according to government regulations.

Image courtesy of Getty Images – Getty Images

What’s the penalty for making moonshine?

Distilling is illegal in the United States and in the majority of countries of Europe. For a variety of reasons, governments have decided that it is best to prohibit residents from producing their own alcohol. To be more specific, several governments prohibit the purchase or possession of any form of still (the vessel used to distill spirits). As a “fanciful phrase,” the United States government does not control the production and sale of moonshine. In order to assure traceability and quality control of alcoholic drinks, distillers are needed to get licenses.

Nevertheless, an increasing number of oenophiles and beer lovers desired to brew their own, and they worked to persuade Congress to legalize homebrewing throughout the United States.

Second, a moonshine still confiscated by the Internal Revenue Service and photographed between 1921 and 1932 at the United States Treasury Department. Getty Images is credited with this photograph. Photo via Getty Images.

  • Distilling is illegal in the United States and much of Europe. There are a variety of reasons why governments prefer to prohibit their population from creating their own alcoholic beverages. In fact, in many nations, even purchasing or owning any form of still (the vessel used to distill spirits) is prohibited. Officially, the United States government considers moonshine to be a “fanciful phrase” and does not regulate its production or sale. To maintain both traceability and quality control of alcoholic drinks, distillers are obliged to get licences. Until 1978, it was against the law to make your own alcohol or beer at home. However, an increasing number of oenophiles and beer lovers desired to produce their own, and they worked to persuade Congress to legalize homebrewing throughout the country. A family of two people is now allowed to produce 200 gallons of wine and the equivalent quantity of beer each year, according to government regulations. 2A moonshine still recently confiscated by the Internal Revenue Bureau, photographed between 1921 and 1932 at the United States Treasury Department. Photograph courtesy of Getty Images – Photograph by Getty Images
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Felonies under this section are punished by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both for each offense.

Is moonshine dangerous?

Yes, moonshine – as well as other powerful, homemade alcoholic beverages – may be quite harmful. People who attempt to create and distill their own spirits without the required training and permissions are often unaware of the proper usage of the key component – ethanol – in the process. When alcoholic spirits are manufactured improperly, they can cause major illness, blindness, and even death in some cases. If done incorrectly, the distillation process may be a risky technique to undertake. Not only may novice distillers mistakenly harm others, but stills are also very dangerous to handle.

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.

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

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.

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.

Consumption

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.

Why Is Moonshine Illegal and what you need to know Alcohol Laws

As far as historians can determine, the practice of manufacturing alcohol has existed since the dawn of time. A special type of whiskey known as moonshine is said to have been brought into the United States by Scotch-Irish immigrants during the late 1700s in the southern Appalachian region. It is believed by Appalachian anthropologists that the Scotch-Irish immigrants who arrived in the region in the late 1700s and early 1800s carried with them their history of home brewing and the family recipe for a high-potency alcoholic beverage known as hooch.

The police and thirsty neighbors will not be able to find it, thus it can be buried “Appalachian State University’s Department of Anthropology’s Jason Sumich believes that Initial packaging for moonshines was clay jugs, followed by mason jars in the latter stages of development.

It was said that the number of “X”s signified the number of times the brew had gone through the distillation process.

So Why Is Moonshine Illegal?

It is allowed to possess and operate moonshine stills, and you may even use them if you are not manufacturing alcoholic beverages. You do not need a license to make essential oils, perfume, or distilled water. You can do it in your home. The process of producing your own ethanol for use as a fuel is likewise totally lawful, provided you obtain a TTB authorization. Even if obtaining home fuel permits appears to be straightforward, TTB employees might visit your home to guarantee that you are not consuming so-called white lightning.

According to federal rules, distilling alcohol at home is unquestionably prohibited, regardless of the amount of alcohol produced.

According to federal law, those who operate home distilleries may be charged with a variety of federal offenses, including tax evasion, which can result in a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, as well as the seizure and forfeiture of the property and land that was used for the home distilling operation.

Check your Alcohol Fedral or State Laws

Even while many individuals are aware that it is illegal to make alcoholic beverages at home, many may not comprehend how and why these regulations were put into place. The legislation may appear odd at first glance, but a look back in time helps to make things lot more reasonable. Instead of issuing a warning that you will go blind if you consume your own moonshine, the government’s restrictions on the booze are based on taxation. Things began to deteriorate following the American Revolution, when the government began to levy excise taxes on alcoholic beverages in order to pay back the debt incurred as a result of the conflict.

  • During the American Civil War, the distillation of moonshine and the sale of moonshine without paying taxes were both proclaimed illegal.
  • This bill established the formal imposition of excise taxes on alcoholic beverages and other “sin” commodities.
  • Although it has been around for a long time, knowing how to produce moonshine has become increasingly popular throughout the United States, particularly in southern states such as South Carolina and North Carolina as well as Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia.
  • While it is now legal to create your own beer or wine for personal consumption, the manufacturing of spirits for personal consumption is still illegal by federal law.
  • The excise tax that so many moonshiners dreaded is still far too lucrative for them to ignore.
  • Otherwise, home distillation might result in major legal repercussions if not done properly.

Is Moonshine Really Dangerous?

Even while many individuals are aware that it is illegal to make alcoholic beverages at home, many do not comprehend how or why these rules were enacted. A look at the law’s history makes it far more intelligible, even if it appears ludicrous at first. Instead of issuing a warning that you will go blind if you consume your own moonshine, the government’s restrictions on the booze are based on taxation…. It was only after the American Revolution that things began to deteriorate, as the government began to levy alcohol excise taxes in order to pay back the war-related debt.

  1. During the American Civil War, it was made unlawful to manufacture moonshine or sell it without paying taxes.
  2. Alcohol and other “sin” commodities were subject to excise taxes under this legislation.
  3. Although it has been around for a long time, knowing how to produce moonshine has become increasingly popular throughout the United States, particularly in southern states such as South and North Carolina as well as Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia.
  4. However, while it is now legal to create your own beer or wine for personal use, it is still illegal to produce spirits for personal consumption.

What is the rationale for this? The excise tax, which many moonshiners dreaded, is still much too profitable for them to ignore it. In order to make moonshine, you must first get the necessary licenses. Distilling at home, on the other hand, can result in significant legal repercussions.

Moonshine Laws – Burke County Sheriff

In Georgia, the production of moonshine has a lengthy history that dates back to the Civil War, when moonshine was legal but restricted owing to a lack of laws. Following the Civil War, legislation was established making moonshine illegal and establishing tax rates for legal alcoholic beverages. The battle-weary people of Georgia regarded it as a means of escaping poverty, as Georgia’s natural resources had been badly reduced as a result of the conflict. Producing moonshine under the cover of night and then selling it without paying taxes undoubtedly boosted the income of the general public, but the high risks associated with illegal business kept it from spreading widely until the Prohibition era, when moonshine operations grew to the point where 1,000 gallonstills were being used in some concealment locations.

  • Due to the legalization of moonshine in recent years, a significant portion of the illicit moonshine industry has been eliminated, and law enforcement agencies continue to crack down on stills.
  • Junior learnt to race while moving whiskey over the North Carolina mountains.
  • Manufacturing, transporting, receiving, possessing, selling, and distributing alcoholic drinks are all prohibited in Georgia.
  • OCGA 3-3-27 (2010)3-3-27 says that no person should, knowingly and willfully, do any of the following:
  • With a history that dates back to the Civil War, when moonshine was legal but restricted owing to a lack of rules, Georgia has a long and rich history with moonshine. Several years after the Civil War, legislation was established making moonshine illegal and establishing tax rates for legitimate alcoholic beverage use. Because Georgia’s resources had been badly reduced by the conflict, the battle-weary people of Georgia regarded it as a path out of poverty. Producing moonshine under the cover of night and then selling it without paying taxes undoubtedly boosted the income of the general public, but the high risks associated with illegal business kept it from spreading widely until the Prohibition era, when moonshine operations grew to the point where 1,000 gallonstills were being used in some hidden locations. As a maker, vendor, consumer, or even as a sugar supplier, it is stated that every other Georgian was involved in the moonshine industry in some capacity. Now that moonshine has been legalized, most of the illicit moonshine economy has died, and law enforcement authorities are continuing to crack down on stills. So are renowned Southerners like NASCAR great Junior Johnson, who has his own line of Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon, which is based on a family recipe. Racing moonshine in the hills of North Carolina was where Junior first learned how to do it. However, this does not rule out the possibility of a bust occurring sometimes in Georgia, even here in Burke. Alcoholic drinks are not permitted in Georgia for the following reasons: they cannot be manufactured, transported, received, sold or distributed. Failing to file required reports, bonds, or fees, as well as failing to declare contraband machinery used in the illegal manufacturing of alcoholic drinks, are all punishable under state law. (3) No person shall knowingly and willfully do any of the following: O.C.G.A. 3-3-27 (2010)3-3-27
  • Georgia has a lengthy history of moonshine production that dates back to the Civil War, when moonshine production was lawful but severely restricted owing to a lack of rules in place. Following the Civil War, legislation was established declaring moonshine illegal and setting tax rates for lawful alcoholic beverages. Because Georgia’s resources had been badly reduced as a result of the conflict, the war-weary people of Georgia regarded it as a means of escaping poverty. Making moonshine under the cover of night and then selling it without paying taxes undoubtedly contributed to the people’s income, but the high risks associated with illegal business prevented it from spreading widely until the prohibition era, when moonshine operations grew to the point where 1,000 gallonstills were being used in some hiding places. According to legend, every other Georgian was somehow involved in the moonshine industry, whether as a maker, a seller, a customer, or even as a sugar supplier. Now that moonshine has been legalized, most of the illicit moonshine economy has died, and law enforcement agencies continue to crack down on stills. Indeed, even well-known Southerners, such as NASCAR icon Junior Johnson, are involved in the company with his Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon, which is based on an old family recipe. Junior learnt to race while lugging whiskey over the North Carolina hills. However, that does not rule out the possibility of an occasional bust in Georgia, even here in Burke County. Manufacturing, transporting, receiving, possessing, selling, or distributing alcoholic drinks are all prohibited in Georgia. Failing to submit correct reports or bonds, or to pay fees, as well as failure to declare apparatus used in the illegal manufacturing of alcoholic drinks as contraband, are all punishable under state law. The law, O.C.G.A. 3-3-27 (2010)3-3-27, stipulates that no person should knowingly and intentionally:
  • Anything that is utilized in the illicit distillation, manufacturing, or production of any alcoholic drinks is considered contraband, and it must be destroyed or otherwise disposed of according to the commissioner’s specifications. The following provisions of this Code section are violated: (Paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than five years
  • Paragraphs (2) through (8) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than five years
  • Paragraphs (2) through
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Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most up-to-date versions available at this time. Georgia may have information that is more up to date or accurate. Neither we nor the state make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of the material included on this site or on any other site to which it is connected. Please refer to official sources for information.

Why is Moonshine Illegal, Anyway?

There are a variety of alcoholic beverages available for purchase, including whiskey, rum, gin, vodka, and cough syrup (hey, we don’t judge). So, what the hell is the problem with making moonshine illegal? It appears to us that acquiring a clear, unaged whiskey with a gasoline-like flavor and made using grains such as barley, wheat, and maize is a good idea. For years, it has been a part of American culture on par with porn and apple pie—albeit with the misconception that hillbillies are the hayseeds who produce it.

Back In The Day

Cough syrup (hey, we don’t judge) is only one of the many alcoholic beverages available for purchase: whiskey, rum, gin, vodka. So, what the hell is the deal with moonshine being illegal to produce and distribute? In our opinion, buying a clear, unaged whiskey with a gasoline-like flavor and made from grains like barley, wheat, and maize is a good investment.

It’s been around for decades and is as deeply ingrained in American society as porn and apple pie — albeit with the assumption that hillbillies are the hayseeds who produce it —

The Future of Hooch

However, times have changed, and eye-watering booze is now in high demand, largely due to the insatiable thirst of the man-bun sporting hipster. As a result, small startup distilleries in places like Tennessee and California have sprung up, selling their products both online and in liquor stores across the country. Furthermore, business is booming. According to Technomic, a food and beverage analysis firm, 200,000 more cases of moonshine were sold in 2012 than in 2011. This has prompted whiskey giants such as Jack Daniels and Jim Bean to experiment with producing their own brands of moonshine, which they call “Unaged Whiskey” and “White Whiskey.” There is some ambiguity around the definition of moonshine; formerly, any alcohol produced in an illicit still was termed moonshine.

However, the only real distinction between illicit moonshine (such as that produced during Prohibition) and legal booze is that legitimate enterprises are required to pay taxes.

All that remains is for you to worry about is going to the liquor shop before it shuts so that you can drink on the same booze that your great, great grandpappy has been swilling down the hatch for decades.

Also Read:7 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Moonshine

If the idea of digging ditches while wearing shackles around one’s ankles appeals to you, you should read this article on the laws of manufacturing moonshine very carefully before proceeding. Home distillation is governed by federal and state statutes, respectively. Distillers must adhere to all applicable federal, state, and local rules and regulations, as well as any local laws, in order to prevent encounters with federal, state, and municipal law enforcement agencies and authorities. In this essay, we’ll go over some of the most significant federal laws you should be aware of.

Federal Distillation Laws

It is permissible to own a still of any size, according to federal regulations. It makes no difference if a person has a 1 gallon still or a 100 gallon still in his or her possession. According to federal legislation, it is permissible to own a still for decorative purposes, distilling water, distilling essential oils, and other similar purposes. As long as it is being used for the aforementioned objectives, it is not required to be registered with anybody or to get any licenses or permissions.

It makes no difference whether the alcohol is for personal consumption exclusively, is not for sale, or is otherwise prohibited.

This isn’t correct at all.

The possession of a still greater than one gallon is permissible under federal law, as long as it is not used to distill alcohol or is authorized to be used for distilling fuel alcohol or spirits, which are both prohibited under state law.

Federal Distilled SpiritsFederal Fuel Alcohol Permits

In order to legally distill alcohol, a person must follow one of two procedures. The first step is to apply for and get a Federal Distilled Spirits License. This is the permission that industry heavyweights such as Jack Daniels and Makers Mark distilleries hold, which allows them to legally distill and distribute their products to the general public in the United States. Obtaining this authorization, as one might expect, is quite difficult to do. Shortly put, unless a person is planning to start a distillery with the goal of selling their product in liquor shops, they should not even bother looking into acquiring their own distillery license since they will find it to be far too expensive and hard for them to get on their own.

The second option is to get a Federal Fuel Alcohol Permit (link below).

Federal Fuel Alcohol Permit

In the event that you build a copper still kit or purchase a stainless distiller from Clawhammer Supply, you’ll need to write down the manufacturer line and your order number for the serial number (e.g. “6601”) on a sticker that will be provided with the equipment in order to be eligible for the federal fuel alcohol permit: “Pot still” should be included as the kind. The capacity of a boiler is the size of the boiler (i.e. 1 gallon, 5 gallon, 10 gallon, etc.). In this case, it will serve as the still’s identifying information It should be noted that people who do not intend to use their still to produce alcohol are not required to get a permission or register the still with the federal authorities.

Those who intend to use the equipment to distill alcohol, on the other hand, must provide their order number (which is also their serial number) on any permission documents.

State Distillation Laws

Every state has its own distillation legislation, which varies from one another. Several jurisdictions allow the ownership of a still but forbid the distillation of alcohol (for example, Colorado, which imposes a minor fine if anybody is discovered doing so), while other states restrict the possession of a still save for the purpose of fuel alcohol production (such as North Carolina, which requires a state fuel alcohol permit). Some states may outright outlaw the ownership of distillation equipment, as well as the practice of distilling.

Also, be certain that you follow all applicable rules and regulations.

Still Registration and Reporting

According to federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau laws, still makers are required to retain consumer information.

Moreover, these documents may also be sought by the federal TTB, and manufacturers are still compelled to provide them if they are requested to do so.

How to Stay Out of Trouble

Exemptions from federal law are not available for the manufacturing of distilled spirits for personal or family consumption. Individuals should never distill or sell alcohol without first obtaining a permit from the appropriate authority. Anyone who want to distill alcohol should ensure that they have obtained the necessary fuel and spirit permissions before starting (listed above). Additionally, verify your state regulations to ensure that owning and/or running a still is legal in your area.

You might be interested:  Where Is Tickles Moonshine In Conneticut?

More information on the laws of distillation may be found in our comprehensive legal overview.

To read the exact federal legislation on the issue of distillation, please visit this link.

Is It Illegal to Make Moonshine?

Is it unlawful to brew moonshine in the United States? Although this is true in the majority of situations, it hasn’t dampened (or diluted) the spirits of bourbon producers across the country. According to ABC News, during the last three years, law enforcement authorities in Virginia have clamped down on moonshine sales and manufacture in the state, which has become a multi-million dollar business. Making moonshine has the potential to make you a lot of money, especially considering the millions of dollars at stake in this historic industry.

Federal Excise Tax

One of the reasons that manufacturing your own booze is unlawful is because the federal government charges liquor makers $2.14 each 750 mL bottle of 80-proof whiskey, which is a significant amount of money. The tax on a gallon of liquor with a 50 percent alcohol content is approximately $13.50, rounded up. This does not include the state excise tax you would be required to pay, which may be as high as $12.80 per gallon in Alaska. Taxpayers may lose money if you make and sell your own moonshine since you might be stealing up to $25 per gallon.

Federal Punishments for Distilling

In part, this is due to the fact that the federal government costs liquor makers $2.14 each 750 mL bottle of 80-proof whiskey, making it illegal to make your own. The tax is around $13.50 per gallon of liquor with a 50 percent alcohol content. State excise taxes, which may go as high as $12.80 per gallon in Alaska, are not included in this calculation. You might be stealing up to $25 per gallon from the government if you make and sell your own moonshine.

Private Distilling in Your Home State

Many states may provide permits to “craft distillers,” who are individuals who seek to produce moonshine for their own personal enjoyment. Even in places like Oregon, however, you will not be awarded the necessary permissions to lawfully run a still until you first seek permits and licenses from the federal government, which can take several months. These licenses are also subject to special federal occupational taxes, which include a $500 annual fee for any distiller who makes less than $500,000 in revenue in a given calendar year.

In other words, if you solely want to consume your moonshine income, this drunken pastime becomes prohibitively expensive. Resources that are related to this topic:

  • Obtain the services of Criminal Defense Attorneys in your area (using FindLaw’s Lawyer Directory)
  • What is the legal basis for prohibiting moonshine? (Slate)
  • Questions and Answers on Distilled Spirits (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau)
  • Indian Tribe Loses Lawsuit Against Beer Makers for Alcoholism (FindLaw Has Been Decided)
  • Do you think the Budweiser lawsuit is about more than just booze? The Free Enterprise of FindLaw is a good example of this.

Is Moonshine Illegal?

Many developments in popular culture have left some questioning if moonshine is still illegal. It was formerly believed that moonshining was a criminal activity that could only be carried out under the cover of darkness, however it appears that this is no longer the case. Quality moonshine is still being produced today, and it is widely accessible online. Some commercial spirits even go by the moniker of’moonshine,’ thanks to shows like Discovery Channel’s Moonshiners, which highlights the world of home brewing.

The quick answer is that sure, it is possible.

Is Moonshining Illegal?

Possessing a still of any size is permissible in the United States. This is due to the fact that stills are capable of producing much more than simply moonshine. Stills may be used to create a variety of products, including essential oils, distilled water, perfume, and fuel. Many people are under the impression that possessing a small still is legal, while owning a larger still is not. This simply isn’t accurate in any way. The government is more interested with how you intend to use your still than with whether you have one.

It makes no difference whether the alcoholic beverages you are producing are just for personal consumption and not for sale.

How to Legally Distill Spirits at Home

In the United States, it is possible to legally distill spirits in one’s own house. In reality, there are two distinct permission alternatives available to ensure that you may produce your own spirits at home without having to worry about getting into issue with the authorities. The first step is to apply for and get a Federal Distilled Spirits License. A licence that states that you wish to start your own distilling firm is what this is essentially all about. This is the same permit that would be in the possession of large liquor corporations such as Jack Daniels.

  1. This permission is completely pointless unless you are truly going to start a distillery and sell your product to the general public, which is not the case most of the time.
  2. What you can do is apply for a permit to consume alcohol while operating a motor vehicle.
  3. In fact, by obtaining this licence, all you are indicating to the authorities is that you intend to use the alcohol you produce to fuel your lawnmower rather than use it yourself.
  4. The only situation in which this permit will protect you is if you are producing ethanol for the purpose of powering your gas mower.
  5. The purchase of a still without the goal of producing alcohol does not necessitate the acquisition of a permit.
  6. You only need to look at these possibilities if you want to use your still to distill spirits in the near future.

While you may be lawfully producing moonshine in some cases, you are not technically creating moonshine because the term refers to only the criminal manufacture, transportation, and distribution of spirits. Once you have a distilling permit in your possession, you are officially a distiller.

What are the Moonshining Laws in my Area?

While it is critical to be aware of the rules regulating moonshine, it is equally critical to be aware of the laws that apply in your particular location. Many states have special regulations governing the distillation of alcohol. Unfortunately, federal law will always take precedence over state law. However, several states have regulations in place that, if moonshining were not prohibited by federal law, would potentially make it permissible. It’s critical to understand what is and isn’t lawful in your jurisdiction.

In Missouri, you have the potential to produce 100 gallons of alcoholic beverages every year.

Take a look at this website, which breaks out the distillation legislation according to state.

Still Registration and Reporting

According to the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau laws, still makers are required to retain the information on their customers. This is necessary because the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau may ask for this information at some point in the future. To read the exact federal legislation on the issue of distillation, please visit this link.

Why is Making Moonshine Illegal?

Moonshine production was not always prohibited by law. In truth, the production of moonshine is entirely legal in many parts of the world. In 1996, New Zealand became the first country to legalize the distillation of moonshine for personal use, making it the first country to do so. In 1997, Russia reduced the punishment for creating moonshine from a criminal infraction to a misdemeanor, thus abolishing the crime. As of 2002, it is no longer even deemed a misdemeanor in the state of California.

While the government frequently places a high emphasis on health and safety concerns, the origins of these worries may be traced back to money.

A Drink Rich in History

Many early American pioneers practiced moonshining, which was not only legal, but also a way of life for them. Farmers quickly learned that fermenting their extra grains was a cost-effective solution to not only reduce waste but also to generate additional income. For one thing, a farmer could make far more money selling whiskey than he or she could make selling maize. In reality, during this time period, it was rather usual for whiskey to be used as a type of money to facilitate trade. Take a look at our delectable Corn Whiskey Recipe.

  • Hamilton’s plan was to use the debt to fund the American Revolution.
  • Of course, not all of the farmers were on board with the plan.
  • The Whiskey Rebellion was the culmination of this buildup of animosity.
  • The Revenue Act of 1862, enacted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), made the production of moonshine a criminal offense in the United States.

Since then, it has been prohibited to distill spirits in private residences in the United States.

Is it Illegal to Brew Beer and Wine at Home?

Until the legislation was officially altered in 1978, homebrewing was considered a federal crime. In contrast, it wasn’t until 2013 that homebrewers were granted the right to brew their own beer in each of the 50 states. Because the regulation of alcoholic beverages is primarily left to the discretion of individual states, residents of Alabama and Mississippi were among the last to profit from the repeal of this statute. Despite the fact that the regulations surrounding winemaking are somewhat vague, this legislation does not apply to the manufacturing of spirits.

It is reasonable to assume that the method of making each sort of alcoholic beverage is comparable.

How Much is Moonshine Worth?

According to the United States Government, when it comes to the amount of money that each form of liquor is worth, spirits vastly surpass beer and wine in terms of value. Excise taxes on 80-proof spirits in the United States are $2.14 a bottle, compared to 21 cents per bottle of wine (with no more than 14 percent alcohol content) and 5 cents every can of beer in the country. While it is not clear how much money the government stands to lose as a result of moonshining, the amount is significant enough to merit further inquiry.

It seems likely that tax income will continue to be a strong motive for the United States government to pursue moonshiners for the foreseeable future, given the current state of affairs.

Is Making Moonshine Safe?

There is a safe method to create moonshine and a harmful way to manufacture moonshine, just as there is with any other practice. Making moonshine is a three-step procedure that necessitates meticulous attention to detail on the part of the distiller or producer. In many ways, making moonshine is analogous to carrying out a scientific project in high school. You’re dealing with high temperatures and combustible stuff. The maker must pay strict attention to the passage of time, the temperature, and the components.

  1. As a result, while the process of creating moonshine is quite basic, it is time-consuming and must be done correctly.
  2. Moonshine must be produced using clean equipment and with food-grade components in order to be considered safe.
  3. Of course, failing to adhere to appropriate protocol might result in potentially disastrous circumstances.
  4. This can result in a potentially perilous situation.
  5. This is true whenever you are working with high temperatures.
  6. Failure to exercise caution can result in potentially hazardous circumstances.
  7. Alcohol has a high flammability rating.

Furthermore, moonshine contains a significant amount of alcohol with a high alcohol by volume (ABV) (alcohol by volume). It is suggested that you dilute your moonshine before consuming it and that you drink it slowly and carefully.

Is Drinking Moonshine Safe?

A safe approach to create moonshine, like with any activity, might be found alongside a dangerous method. Moonshine production is a three-step procedure that necessitates meticulous attention to detail on the part of the distiller or producer. Making moonshine is quite similar to conducting a scientific experiment in high school. When working with heat and combustible materials, be careful not to overheat or burn yourself. When it comes to time, temperature, and ingredients, the maker must be extremely careful.

  • As a result, while the process of creating moonshine is quite basic, it is time-consuming and must be completed correctly.
  • When making moonshine, it is important to utilize clean equipment and food-grade ingredients.
  • Failure to follow correct protocol, on the other hand, might result in potentially hazardous circumstances.
  • In some cases, this can result in a potentially perilous circumstance.
  • Any time you are working with heat, this is the case.
  • It is possible to get into harmful circumstances if you do not use caution.
  • Alcohol burns really quickly.
  • Furthermore, moonshine has a high percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV) (alcohol by volume).
Output Temperature Fraction Keep or Toss?
Acetone 134°F or 56.5°C Foreshots TOSS
Methanol 147°F or 64°C Heads TOSS
Ethyl Acetate 171°F or 77.1°C Heads Keep for a second distillation or toss
Ethanol 172°F or 78°C HEARTS KEEP
2-Propanol 207°F or 82°C Tails Keep for a second distillation or toss
1-Propanol 207°F or 97°C Tails Keep for a second distillation or toss
Water 212°F or 100°C Tails Keep for a second distillation or toss
Butanol 241°F 116°C Tails Keep for a second distillation or toss
Amyl alcohol 280°F or 137.8°F Tails Keep for a second distillation or toss
Furfural 322°F or 161°C Tails Keep for a second distillation or toss

Making spirits at home with the intention of consuming them is against federal law. Only with the proper permissions can a person manufacture ethanol, whether for personal consumption or as part of a commercial enterprise — such as founding a craft spirits firm, which has sprung up in droves throughout the country in recent years, for example. Aside from the legal challenges that are involved, there are also health risks to be concerned about. Moonshine may get contaminated with hazardous substances, particularly methanol, a type of alcohol that is known to cause blindness and death at high concentrations.

Home moonshining is illegal in the majority of states; nevertheless, state legislation may clash with federal legislation.

However, federal law takes precedence over state law, thus distilling at home for personal use is considered unlawful by the federal government.

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