1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

You could ferment your own alcohol by simply leaving fruit juice on the counter overnight (pretty sure the result won't be pleasant), but distillation is used to isolate the alcohol to get a product of higher purity or proof. Moonshine is an example of an historically significant distilled spirit. Even though Prohibition is in the past, it's still illegal to make moonshine in the United States.

Aside from reasons relating to politics and money, there are safety concerns with making your own 'shine. One is the possibility of the still exploding from a buildup of internal pressure. Otherwise, there is the possibility of poisoning yourself with volatile oils or other contaminants by not discarding them during the distillation process or by not maintaining careful temperature control. The most prevalent health problem is contamination of the moonshine with high levels of lead. Laboratory glassware tends not to be something the average Bootlegger possesses, which means he or she will probably use metal components. Welding metal parts or using inappropriate materials (like car radiators) can lead to the leaching of lead into the distillate. It's possible to filter the lead out, but many people are unaware of the hazard.

Anyway, for your entertainment and edification, here are instructions for making moonshine.


May 2, 2007 at 1:32 pm
(1) James Green says:

It is a common mistake that people make when they say, moonshine is illegal. It is not illegal if you pay taxes for it. that is the only reasi=on it would still be considered illegal I’m surprised a person with a Ph.D doesn’t know that!

September 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm
(2) Mark says:

You have to get a permit to distill alcohol. It is not just paying taxes on it. It is illegible to distill with out a permit. You are mistaken

Moonshiner for 25 years.

October 3, 2010 at 2:19 pm
(3) Willie says:

WRONG, Against Federal law.

May 26, 2011 at 12:52 am
(4) Zac Rundell-Gordon says:


November 16, 2007 at 5:23 pm
(5) Jack Gas says:

This lady is just playing ball for the government. The fact is booze making is safer then eating a steak by far.
People get sick from booze that has been intentionally “tweeked” or from lead content. Use common sense, stainless steel, and teflon. Also discard the first part of the batch, and you will be safe. She talks about an “over pressurized” still. Thats not possible, so don’t worry about that.

December 19, 2007 at 10:45 pm
(6) W says:

It’s not illegal to make shine for YOUR OWN CONSUMPTION or for a gift. It becomes illegal the second you sell it and the government doesn’t get their cut.

October 19, 2010 at 7:33 pm
(7) chuck wallace says:

wrong it is illegal it make moonshine for your own consumption, you cannot distill any alcohol except for fuel….PERIOD. Then you have to have a special permit from the feds. You can make wine and beer but no distilled products!!

July 6, 2011 at 1:00 am
(8) x says:

it is legal to have up to 5 gallons of home made alcohol cuz that is considered personal consumption by the federal government. ive researched this countless times because i make my own.

June 19, 2008 at 1:57 am
(9) Dawn carter says:

It is illegal to distill alcohol. It is not illegal to homebrew beer or ferment wine. It is illegal to sell that beer and wine without going throught the proper legal passages where it is taxed. The act of distilling alcohol is against federal laws, no lie.

July 30, 2008 at 4:50 pm
(10) Bryan says:

It is not illegal to distill alchohol but there is a limit on the amount you can make per year.

October 26, 2008 at 2:49 am
(11) Mr.Kenneth Morrison says:

I’ve condensed my own ethanol only a couple of times(17 times).It has far been the most rewarding(and Im rich by the way)experience Ive ever accomplished,aside from climbing Everest,…Ive had more fun with Kazz(my cat)and distilling(beginner chemistry)than Ive ever had.He chases my laser pointer to no end!!!!!(LOL)I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ITS FREE

November 15, 2008 at 3:28 pm
(12) Sarah says:

It IS indeed illegal to distill liquor at home — whether it is for sale or not, whether it is a small quantity or a large one. It is only legal when you are doing so to use it as fuel and have the proper permit.

How likely are you to even be on the government radar? not likely. But it is still technically illegal.

December 27, 2008 at 5:28 pm
(13) Dan says:

It is not illegal to distill alcohol, as long as it`s not used for human consumption. If you store more than 100 gallons, it must be denatured with a gallon of kerosene or like substance according to the BATF). All kinds of eco-types are using it for tractors, lawn mowers, automobiles, generators, etc.

February 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm
(14) tim says:

what part of the world do you live in..you CANNOT distill/make moonshine in the USA…make a 100 gallons call the law and see what happens. where do ppl get these crazy ideas…a friend told me…lol they didnt say anything about going to prison….lol

August 17, 2011 at 11:42 pm
(15) eric morse says:

ive been making rot gut for over 39 years.and if any of you dumbasses dont think it’s illegal just ask anyone who has been busted for making it..i dont care if you dump it down yer damn gullet or dump it in yer lawn mower or whatever you find to dump it down its still against the law.why do you idiots think most of it is made out of site if it was legal to make for whatever reason its bein made for dont you think the old shiners and boys like me would be making it in plain site..for christ sake you all dont know yer ass from yer elbow.go ask junior johnson and the father of shine popcorn cant now cuz he is dead but he will tell you..its illegal fer whatever reason yer makin it for

March 6, 2009 at 10:11 pm
(16) samantha says:

In the United States, those wishing to distill alcohol must contact their local BATF office to obtain an appropriate licensing prior to performing home distillation. It is the sole responsibility of the distiller to know and abide by all applicable laws.

March 9, 2009 at 2:46 pm
(17) Canadian Tourism says:

We’ve created a video tour of the facilities at Strait Shine in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Learn about the hand-crafted distilled products and hear about how moonshine is made.

March 23, 2009 at 7:24 am
(18) doodle says:

Moonshine is awesome

May 6, 2009 at 5:41 am
(19) Zandra says:

W, I agree with what you said. It isn’t illegal to make for your own consumption or as a gift. I KNOW it says that somewhere in TN law and I was wondering if you could help me find it.

June 14, 2009 at 2:44 pm
(20) CJ says:

FYI it is not illegal to make your own distilled spirits but it is intentionally prohibitively difficult. Aside from the application and permits (for any amount of distilled alcohol)you also have to pay excise tax on it.

See this FAQ:

December 13, 2009 at 10:02 am
(21) John says:

Don’t fool yourself, or listen to people that don’t know or just guessing. IT IS ILLEGAL! Alot of my family has gone to jail for making moonshine. And if you don,t know what your doing you will get yourself in a lot of trouble real quick.Read about it and leave alone..Have you ever seen a still blow up I have!!!!!!

March 6, 2010 at 11:25 am
(22) Dave says:

Who cares if its illegal?

March 9, 2010 at 11:39 pm
(23) jim says:

IT IS NOT ILLEGAL to make your own moonshine or any kind of moonshine,whiskey,beer or wine as.You are aloud to make certain amounts and or your own consumption or git.It becomes illegal once you start selling it under the table.You are aloud a certain number of gallons per household per year.

October 19, 2010 at 7:48 pm
(24) chuck wallace says:

you go ahead and make all the distilled product that you want and when you spend 30 years in prison then you will understand that you are not allowed to make it for your use except to put it in your car and drive with it…you cannot make it to drink period. I have the special permit to make it for fuel,I can make 10,000 gallons a year tax free. The license is good for life.

April 3, 2010 at 4:00 am
(25) Earl says:

I’m just gonna go with it’s illegal, don’t make it, adn if you do, don’t tell anybody about it. You know, the whole common sense thing.

June 7, 2010 at 1:39 am
(26) Phyllis says:

Hey, Jim….you are allowed to speak aloud!

June 7, 2010 at 6:01 am
(27) Mac says:

it is legal to make up to a certain amount per year for personal use only.

September 18, 2010 at 4:31 pm
(28) Mark says:

no, it is illegible to distill with out a permit

June 12, 2010 at 10:59 am
(29) Donnie says:

You can make a certain amount of beer and wine, but not liquor. Those that say you can are wrong.

June 27, 2010 at 8:37 pm
(30) Ex Shiner says:

Listen People……In the U.S.A…..If you have a distillery that is not registered….Doesn’t matter if there is 2 inches of dust in the pot,YOU ARE BREAKING A FEDERAL LAW….If you grind malt….YOU are BREAKING a FEderal LAw….You can have 499 gallons of moonshine in your house and its a misdemeaner….500 gallons and you are BREAKING A FEDERAL LAW…..Any one of these offenses will put you in the FEDERAL Pen in ATLANT,GA…..Believe me ….there are better ways to spend the next 5 years!!

July 19, 2010 at 11:08 pm
(31) garwoodman says:

This is bad info on making any kind of alcohol. Malted corn (sprouted, then dried, then ground) must be mashed, not mushed, in the presence of amylase enzyme at around 150 degrees F for about an hour to convert complex starch to sugar. Amylase enzyme is typically provided by ground malted barley, mashed with the corn. Corn that is not exposed to amylase will provide very little sugar that can be converted to alcohol. It will, however provide some flavor. If sugar is added to the fermentation of unmashed corn to bring the SG up into a usable range, good results can be had, but not the same as with malted mashed corn. I’ve made beer and wine for years and I distill my own water. Distilling alcohol is illegal without a license.

July 21, 2010 at 6:41 pm
(32) Hayden says:

Make it, drink it, and enjoy~ If you get caught you are dumb! Make small personal quantities, and look for other ways to make a quick buck.

November 18, 2010 at 10:26 pm
(33) Nicholas says:

it is perfectly legal to make moonshine but it is illegal to distribute it

December 8, 2010 at 3:47 pm
(34) DakFink says:

everyone is a legal expert but no-one can show in writing the law that states one way or the other.

If it’s so Illegal why then does Junior Johnson (of Nascar fame) always have some around and has never been busted for it. Even drinking it on national TV.

February 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm
(35) tim says:

he has been busted for it yrs ago….now he has his own distillery….and if i were him i wouldnt put my name on it….catdaddy and junior johnson moonshine…tastes like crap….give me the real deal
bonded liquor just isnt the same

December 9, 2010 at 3:21 am
(36) AC says:

It is legal to produce wine and/or beer in your own home up to 200 gallons a year for personal use, but not for sales. This is stated by law thanks to the Carter administration durring his president reign. Depending upon which state you live in, depends on the strictness of how eager they are to find a still of some sort for moonshine. Generally, moonshine is illegal, period, fermented or distilled, it doesnt matter, i believe if you can reach the alcohol content of 200 proof or 100% alcohol by volume(ABV), you can use it for fuel consumption in motors such as lawnmowers or some vehicles. For fueling purposes, moonshine is a prime biofuel at 100%ABV, but it just so happens to be that it is also the strongest moonshine you can make if you decide to “accidentally” poor in your mouth and also thier is a capping law for alternative fuels by the government that if so much moonshine is produced within a years time that they will buy the additional alcohol produced, but im not an expert, i just enforce these laws, and yes, they do explode. Only because idiots dont realize that alcohol is flamable and transferring it into a vapor make the situation worse. It might have something to do with boiling the shine over a bonfire and trying to catch the dropplets from the vapor coil?

December 21, 2010 at 11:47 pm
(37) ShineMan says:

First off it seems there are a ton of people here that dont know if it is legal to make moonshine and im here to deliver the facts on this issue… every state has its own statutes on this i live in florida and the statute says… 565.07 Sale or consumption of certain distilled spirits prohibited.
—No distilled spirit greater than 153 proof shall be sold, processed, or consumed in the state.
History.—s. 3, ch. 85-203.
you should check the state website to see what the law is in your own state the actual site will end in .GOV
i hope this will put an end to all the “know it alls” here lol

February 4, 2011 at 1:17 am
(38) JC says:

It is illegal it make. We Italians have been making Grappa (Italian Moonshine) from the wine squeezing for years. It would be almost imposable to blow up a modern Stainless Steel still.

February 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm
(39) KYle says:

Yes, I agree, it’s against federal law to distill alcohol without a permit for fuel alcohol or a permit for whiskey. It’s also against the law in many states to distill alcohol without the federal permits and additional permits. So, distilling “moonshine” or any other type of unpermitted alcohol is illegal. Paying taxes on something that is against the law doesn’t make it legal. As far as where to get / how to make a moonshine still, check this out: how to make a moonshine still

April 6, 2011 at 3:52 am
(40) Peter says:

First, I can neither confirm nor deny that I have distilled spirits without a license in the past, as that activity may be illegal in my country.


1) You’d need one hell of a big still before you had a vapor pressure buildup that would rupture the pressure vessel.

2) I remember a while back somebody calculated exactly how much uncut moonshine you’d need to drink to die of methanol/fusel oil poisoning. Even with the most shoddy, poorly-produced spirits, you’d still need to drink something on the order of three gallons of 95% whiskey. Even drinking storebought everclear, you’re dead from plain old alcohol poisoning after an eighth of that amount.

2) The author is a chem PhD, but does she weld? Welding fills the gaps in the material with more of the same material. Unless you’re using something insane like lead cored MIG wire (?), you’re fine. Lead poisoning happens when moonshiners do something really stupid, like using lead solder to join pipes together, or really really stupid and uses a car rad for a condenser. For ANY food-safe work, you should always use silver. Also, few commercial distilleries use glassware – it’s far too expensive. They use either copper or stainless, just like the shiners do.

December 7, 2011 at 10:58 pm
(41) Lsten says:

In wisconsin its leagal to make whatever type of alcohoul you want as long as its no more then 5 gallons and you dont sell it for profit

December 7, 2011 at 10:59 pm
(42) Chris says:

Seriously? Reading these statements just shows how “intelligent” everyone is. People should not go to websites to look up legal information which in this case, and in most cases, very from state to state even and more so if it is a federal law. If you really want to moonshine, you are going to moonshine. Unless you are actively selling the shine or telling everyone you know that you have a distillery, then one, you shouldn’t be moonshing, and two you should be arrested for being an idiot. You can safely build, operate and run a distillery at your home safely, if you just use some common sense. Do actuall legal research instead of asking who could be a 12 yr old girl if moon shining is legal or not in your state. The Feds will be more than happy to answer your question and surprise surprise, you don’t go to jail for asking a question that could save your ass from going to jail.

December 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm
(43) Robert says:

Here is the relevant federal regulation. If you are willing to get a fed permit (good luck), have your facility inspected, file annual reports, etc, you can make liquor. As the author above notes, the feds themselves admit these regulations are designed to make it impractical for any but a commercial producer. No, you can’t make a little in the garage as long as its for personal use. I don’t care what your state law is, Fed law trumps.


December 31, 2011 at 12:04 pm
(44) Kevin says:

So if this is so illegal then how would the show moonshiners be aired on TV? You can make the damn thing so you don’t know anything who ever says its illegal. Hell my buddy is a cop and he is there helping me. I even gave the police office some. Still no arrest, never seen them all smile like that. Your just saying that your too scared to drink the stuff or make it because of what this article says. Yeah ill admit they try to make it sound like its illegal so everyone in the united states does not make it then the government is down more debt than what they are now

January 5, 2012 at 11:55 am
(45) Roadrunner0 says:

Here is my take on all this.. By federal law it is illegal to distill consumable alcohol without a distillers bond and permit PERIOD.. You can get an alternative fuels permit for $20 and a lot of paperwork which includes a waver that allows the federal B.A.T.F. to inspect {open ended search warrant} your operation.. This is the twist and it involves you state and local laws.. Just like California and many other states have bent the federal drug laws pertaining to marijuana so same are the alcohol laws.. Different states set a maximum proof level for commercial spirits, thats why you can buy Everclear and Clearsprings 180 proof in West Virginia and Tennessee but you can’t buy it in Ohio.. It is also considered illegal to transport state tax stamped liquor across state lines without a beverage distributors license and the proper paperwork.. But if you go out of state and buy a few quarts odds are even if it is sitting in the back seat in plain site the police would not even ask about it.. This is the same attitude they have about home booze making around here.. You could make a few gallons of juice in a small pressure cooker in your own home for personal use and the local sheriff would not waste his time.. But as soon as you started selling it they would bust you.. Several enterprising people have been busted for slipping a few gallons out of the middle of a fuel still run to make extra cash.. I like mine aged with a few chunks of charred oak in the jug and a few cloves.. Cheep way to get started is to shop GoodWill for a 3 to 5 gallon used pressure cooker that has the temperature gage and pressure gage already on it.. Then you get a 25 foot roll of copper or stainless steel tubing and fittings from the auto parts store.. Have fun………………

January 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm
(46) roadrunner0 says:

As for recipes, there are hundreds and some are even tasty and have a good aroma.. My favorite is 10 pounds of finely ground organically grown honey crisp sweet corn fresh off the cob.. 5 pounds of dried molasses from the feed store and 1 pound of toasted oatmeal all cooked and cooled to room temperature.. Let it set overnight then bring it to a boil again for 20 minutes and let it cool to 90 degrees.. Place it in your sterile mashing barrel with your favorite brewers yeast sprinkled in as you pour in your mix.. I like to use a heating blanket wrapped around the outside to keep the temperature warm until the mix starts generating its own heat.. Stirring the mash once or twice over a 7 to 14 day brew will help to evenly cure the batch.. This is where art and skill come in, as telling when it is ready is done by smell and taste (my secrete).. So is the amount of water to be added {do not use chlorinated tap water}.. By using the oats and molasses and allowing the batch to rest overnight it completes the chemical process of breaking down the starch some before the yeast is added.. Some people like rye in place of the oats and I have even seen shine made from old bread but as for taste, well it is all to the beholder.. Distill at your own risk…………

January 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm
(47) keepout 101 says:

I think this is very funny.We seem to be hearing from everyone but the Feds. ( the one’s that will arrest you ) .So you know they are watching this comment , so with that said and not a clear yes or no answer from them, I would this call this entrapment.They could always answer the Question to stop the law from being broken. thank you

January 30, 2012 at 2:04 am
(48) Whiskey Still says:

For those interested in trying their hand despite the legalities, Whiskey Still sells stove-top stills.

February 4, 2012 at 2:27 am
(49) jim randall says:


lots of reading but it seems as though you can do it just dont get caught. it is up to the officer and he will take and or destroy any distillation equip. on site. i wouldnt want to try and make money off it. i dont trust many people and if any word gets out to the wrong person and you are making money and not the gov,t you are what i call screwed!

February 4, 2012 at 10:12 am
(50) moonshine says:

Im not sure where people dream up this stuff wow, it is illegal to make one drop of shine without a permit. to the guy who said he took some to his cop friend must i say dump ass.does that town even have 100 people in it.do me a favor and call the feds and tell them you are making shine and them let me know how that works for you . i wouldnt think the feds would ever find out about you making 5 or ten gallons at a time, they are looking for the ones who make 200 gallon or more a night, and to all the people who post on here and say o ya its legal if you dont sell it well that just shows how smart you are lol

February 4, 2012 at 10:20 am
(51) old timer says:

moonshiner is right on, has anyone on here ever make 160 proof whiskey proly not well there is alot of people on here who just like to talk about it and still they know nothen about it if you dont know just keep you lips shut moonshiner proly is one of the few who has ever made a good batch maybe if everyone would just listen they would learn somthing

February 5, 2012 at 1:47 am
(52) Angie says:

Illegal duh

February 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm
(53) Anthony J says:

Moonshine implies illegality, when moonshiners illegally distilled their alcohol under the light of the moon. Obtaining a license to commercially produce alcohol means it is legal to produce it, however the product is not usually regarded as “true” moonshine.

February 20, 2012 at 3:49 am
(54) Aaron says:

This person has a Ph.D.? It is my understanding that “moonshine” is legal once a permit is held and all relevant taxes are paid however due to health reasons you cannot sell it. Also if you read overleaf – she states 200 proof is pure alcohol however; it is chemically impossible to create pure alcohol.

March 11, 2012 at 9:15 pm
(55) John says:

Its not against the law if you donate to Obama’s Superpac! Or give nancy pelosi head. So ive heard.

March 24, 2012 at 6:40 pm
(56) Ron says:

Yes. It is illegal unless one has the proper permit to distill for fuel or for consumption. There is no legal way to distill any alcohol without a proper permit and doing so is a violation of law. I wish it were otherwise, as I’ve wanted to try my hand at it a number of times. There is no exception for production of distilled alcohol “under 5 gallons” or any other nonsense that appears on this website. It just isn’t so. Production of beer and wine, yes. But distilled alcohol, no. Like I said, it just can’t be done. Before risking it all, you should really call an attorney. Or at least check with the government. I don’t think they’re out to trick anyone.

April 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm
(57) Notfaen says:

Ok 1st off alot of you keep saying state law allow it for your own intake. You might be right but there is one law that make it illigale for you it the feds law. If you dont believe that feds trump state law just ask all the state that have legalized weed for any reason but the fed still come in and nail Peaple Why its still Illiag by feds lawso look at both laws just not your state

April 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm
(58) yup says:

“Also if you read overleaf – she states 200 proof is pure alcohol however; it is chemically impossible to create pure alcohol.”

Well, you’re wrong. Sort of.

The theoretical limit is somewhere around 96.5% via distillation only, but you can push the 99.999 marker with chemical separation.

April 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm
(59) Clark says:

It breaks down like this on the federal level (states can and—usually— do have more restrictive laws)

It’s illegal to distill ANY alcohol without a permit.

There are two permits you can apply for:
1) Alternative energy fuel distillers permit
2) Alcohol distillers permit

Both cost time, money, and require you to have a separate place to operate. i.e. you cannot distill in a residence or your back yard. (unless you have more than a few acres)

Alternative fuel licence go here http://www.ttb.gov/forms/f511074.pdf
For distilled spirit permit go here http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/
Annnd if you decide you don’t want either bust still want to make hooch, go here http://www.whiskeystill.net/
I think the owner is funding a PAC to help legalize home distilling, which is awesome.

April 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm
(60) David says:

Legal or illegal or for what purpose belies the reasons why you might want to distill your own spirits. Cheap high or for profit. Either reason you’re going to have to run the gamete of Federal and State Laws and Regulations. I, myself have enjoyed both legal and illegal libations from all over the world due to travels courtesy of Uncle Sam. And in doing so I realize that even though I have had the pleasure of drinking time honored family recipes, for taste, enjoyability and reliability legally distilled beverages are my choice. And believe me I’ve had the pleasure of some of the best as well as the exotic. Cheers!

May 10, 2012 at 12:47 pm
(61) Wayne says:

Who cares if its illegal or not? Big brother is always trying to stick their nose where it dont belong are we truly the land of the free and the home of the brave? What I do in my home is none of Uncle Sam’s damn buisness. By the way I am a proud Marine Corps Veteran so im a “Contributing Member” of society and I dont need a phd to speak up.

July 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm
(62) Lucas says:

It’s not illegal to make hard alcohol at home, what is illegal is distilling it. The one legal way I know of to make “moonshine” without permit(s) is by freezing. Freeze the alcohol away from the water, takes quite some time but produces a clean product.

July 24, 2012 at 5:51 am
(63) E Tanner says:

I would like to have some answers on my mash 30 gallons I run 15 gallons through the still and it turns out 60% volume of alcohol the second 15 gallons it turns out 3540% alcohol volume I would appreciate your comments why wouldn’t the full 30 gallons be the same please held me.


July 29, 2012 at 12:17 am
(64) Dirty says:

E Tanner, put a thumper in there and your 60% will go to 120% easily if your use a pot still. Put your backins in the thumper or the 60% you have ran but always keep your weak stuff to add to the thump keg. I ain’t sure about the 35-40% if that’s what you meant. Are you dumping your first batch and then loading your second 15 gallons?

July 31, 2012 at 1:24 am
(65) Joey says:

Look guys i’m from tn my grandfather my friends father and a old family freind of my dad has all distilled it for years and paid nothing and never had any license and the family friend has sold it on old highway 109 for years and never been arrested never been ticketed or anything so its not illegal or against federal law as long as its not done like they did back in the 1930′s with lead and gas and explosive material….its majorly safe now.but since it was done dangerously in the day they had to make it illegal because prohibition and people where going blind and dying in explosions..check the facts

September 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm
(66) yummy says:

whatever the laws r dont be stupid and have a good time:)

October 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm
(67) john in Tennessee says:

You cannot produce spirits for beverage purposes without paying taxes and without prior approval of paperwork to operate a distilled spirits plant. [See 26 U.S.C. 5601 & 5602 for some of the criminal penalties.] There are numerous requirements that must be met that make it impractical to produce spirits for personal or beverage use. Some of these requirements are paying excise tax, filing an extensive application, filing a bond, providing adequate equipment to measure spirits, providing suitable tanks and pipelines, providing a separate building (other than a dwelling) and maintaining detailed records, and filing reports. All of these requirements are listed in 27 CFR Part 19.

October 18, 2012 at 7:52 pm
(68) tom says:

Go ahead and make some moonshine, then take a sample to your local police or better yet your county sheriff and get ready for the reaction. I will promiss you that you will get the correct awnser. A trip to jail, hell of a fine, lost job, hell of a lot of community service , shuned by your family because they don’t want to be around a jail bird. Wife and kids will want to know if you will be out for christmas . If you live in ohio and make it and still don’t know if it is legal please send me your name and address and i will be happy to get back to you . Why? I’m a police officer.Don’t make it .If you do, it’s your butt.

November 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm
(69) Boner says:

I guess I can grow my own pot as well?

November 8, 2012 at 1:42 am
(70) GAZMO says:

this has been fun reading all these comments , i really do wanna make shine , but , to do it legally , in small amounts .safely . we have access to charred barrells and need to fill them with recipes for bourbons and the like , so , everclear is what we want to make .

November 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm
(71) Djk says:

You can sell as much as you like as long as you don’t make a profit

November 9, 2012 at 12:06 am
(72) Moonshinner says:

I really don’t give a s***. Screw this government. If they can’t make any money off it, they make it illegal. Kiss my a**. I’ll make all I want for personal use and to give away to friends. Go tax someone else you d********.

November 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm
(73) Darla says:

“Illegible”?!? LOL!

November 11, 2012 at 6:38 pm
(74) Dick says:

Wow some people are just brain dead! It must be legal because they film Moonshiners for Discovery channel. Lmao! Did you miss the disclaimer at the beginning of every episode saying it is illegal? What about the cameras following the ABC agents who are trying to bust the people making or selling shine? The entire show is about how it is illegal.

November 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm
(75) JrJ says:

YOU can make moonshine up to a gallon a month for personal use. CAN NOT sell it. If it was illegal the goverment would shut all these people on Ebay and all these sites that sell stills and still suplies. And for the gallon a month that is all you better have (on hand) if they come knocking on your door. Now that is for the state of NC. or your neighbor calls cause he hates you and see your still cooking away on Sunday. So still on boys and girls….

November 25, 2012 at 9:35 pm
(76) BATF says:

It is illegal to distill any amount of alcohol for any purpose any time any reason any state in the USA without first securing a fuel permit for fuel use only. distilling alcohol for consumption is a felony.

November 30, 2012 at 5:23 am
(77) Joe I says:

Most things that are considered illegal in nature are only illegal if you get caught. Medicinal Marijuana is legal her in NJ. Although the federal govt DEA still raid production and dispensing and as “production of a Controlled Dangerous Substance. There ARE states where moonshine may be legal but they do not enforce those laws. The DEA only targets th physicians with the certification, whether they are state lisc or not. The resolution came when Chris Christie (gov of nj) decided to have Rutgers Cook Campus, College of Botany produce and distribute to “lisc dispensing centers. They do not “produce” or “sell ” it as stated in Rockerfella laws. Rutgers, as a college, only lost “funding” from the Federal Government for studies and students studying botany, for that specific reason. So, no matter where it IS legal or not enforced, the federal government has the 100% right to raid “liscensed” centers even though the state laws exist. By the way. The state cannot impede on the investigation or arrest . Leaving the Marijuana production up to the college is considered “research” and thats where they get their funding back. A Just an analogy ..sorry so long winded. In ANY state that has medical marijuana “laws ” anyone producing and selling an illicit or illegal substance by state laws are not immune to a mandatory 25 to life in jail. This goes for California as well. In California however, they do not do as many raids (just as jersey) . The government influence is too strong in either state AND in CA, it’s grown in the fields and they are dusted with “weed” killers. I’ve only heard of one moonshine case in WV and the charges were “dropped”

December 4, 2012 at 6:45 am
(78) Федя says:

Reflux (aka – the dome, prikubnik, it – the sump moonshine), as has been repeatedly pointed out, is not mandatory, but highly desirable element of moonshine, because it can significantly improve the quality of the final product. The fact that the composition of home brew in addition we are interested in ethanol is a group of heavier alcohols, fatty acids, and other nasty ingredients – in the vernacular – fusel oil

December 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm
(79) Dr. Don says:

It is against Federal Law to distill alcohol for consumption without the proper permits. The key word here is DISTILL. Federal law always trumps state laws. Technically, the feds could go into CA, CO and the other states that sell medicinal marijuana and arrest the growers and sellers, state law be damned because it is against Federal law. Most states allow a certain amount of fermented alcohols to be made for personal consumption (beer, wine, and you can make liquor without distilling) but once you distill you are in violation of federal law. It is not against the law to build or own a still, but it is against the law to use one for distilling alcohol for consumption without the proper permits. That is how they can get away with selling professional stills on-line.
That being said, my grandfather had a small still that he would cook on his wood stove in his garage and make a few gallons a year for his personal use. With every batch, he gave a few pint jars away to friends and neighbors and even the town cop (they were childhood friends). When he passed away the still had mysteriously disappeared. We found out later that the town cop took it and destroyed it.
I want all of you that think that your state allows you to make 200 gallons of distilled alcohol a year for personal use to prove it. I suggest you build you a still and cook it right in your front yard. Also post a youtube video of it for all of us to see and use your real name and address just in case Johnny Law didn’t happen to go by your house that day. Hell, you know the law and it ain’t illegal. So what trouble can you get into? Although, I would make sure that you don’t have any can’t miss appointments or events for the next few years first.

December 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm
(80) lucas says:

it is not illegal to make it, its just illegal to sell it. My grandfather was caught making liquor and it counted as a misdemeanor.

December 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm
(81) Devin says:

Lucas said:
It’s not illegal to MAKE IT..only sell it… & his Grandfather got caught & was charged a misdemeanor…

That means “ILLEGAL”.


Otherwise he wouldn’t have been charged with anything.

December 12, 2012 at 1:49 pm
(82) Peter says:

I just love seeing all of these comments stating that it is “illegible”… bahaha…

December 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm
(83) The Expert says:

Wow, input, input, input … without much research (barring a few … very few)

Making distilled spirits without a federal permit is illegal, period. However, it’s fun – and less dangerous than taking a drive to the supermarket. I’ve cooked off arround 4,000 gallons in my lifetime – about 12 gallons at a time. I don’t sell it, never have. I simply enjoy doing doing it for several reasons: a) I like to drink it b) it’s a fun activity to do with a buddy or two c) because of the “shinerunner” stigma … it’s like being one of the many “fake bikers” out there. Someone said you’d have to have a “very large still” to blow it up … well, toss an aeresol can in the fire dummy … and see how close you wanna be when the container fails…

Pressure (PSI’s) is pressure, a 500 gallon pressure vessel might not be rated any higher than a 3 gallon stovetop model. If any contained expanding compound is restricted and can’t escape, it will choose the point of least resistance to make it’s exit – which, technically speaking – COULD be the side of your pressure vessel. If your vapor can’t escape from your pressure vessel into the column and through the worm, the result will be ugly. For 12 dollars, I had a temp/pressure valve mounted to the top of my vessel (two 15.5 gallon beer kegs welded together). This lets me monitor the temp of my distillate, and keeps me wary of any change in pressure … but if there is product coming out the worm (condensor) – everything is just peachy. The chance you could “poison” someone with your product … even BAD product … can be disregarded. If ur an idiot, use lead solder or run your shine through an old radiator … stupid is as stupid does – and your the reason they put warning labels on sparklers. Nuf said.

December 20, 2012 at 8:50 am
(84) Old Shiney says:

The comment above is the ONLY one that is worth a hoot here, I can tell you that.

December 22, 2012 at 7:20 pm
(85) George says:

Here is the law.


You may not produce spirits for beverage purposes without paying taxes and without prior approval of paperwork to operate a distilled spirits plant. [See 26 U.S.C. 5601 & 5602 for some of the criminal penalties.] There are numerous requirements that must be met that also make it impractical to produce spirits for personal or beverage use. Some of these requirements are paying special tax, filing an extensive application, filing a bond, providing adequate equipment to measure spirits, providing suitable tanks and pipelines, providing a separate building (other than a dwelling) and maintaining detailed records, and filing reports. All of these requirements are listed in 27 CFR Part 19.
Spirits may be produced for non-beverage purposes for fuel use only without payment of tax, but you also must file an application, receive TTB’s approval, and follow requirements, such as construction, use, records and reports.

December 24, 2012 at 10:15 am
(86) Bubba says:

it aint illegal to make moonshine. and as far as a permit goes it depends where you live. for instance in GA you can make up to a gallon a month as long as it is for “personal consumption” and you dont make a “profit” on it.

December 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm
(87) chizleFX says:

theres sometimes a difference between state law and federal law. federal law deems it ILLEGAL!!!!!!!!!!!

December 26, 2012 at 9:27 am
(88) popo says:

I am the police. All you f******* are under arrest. Especially you f*****g morons that think its legal in any way shape or form. You are my favorite a**holes to arrest. You show up to court feeling confidnt wave the right to an attorney because your so f***ing smart. Then the judge slams ur a** to the wall and before u even know what happened billy joe jim bob and bubba are knee deep in ur a** in the pokie. So have a good time a**holes im coming for ya.

December 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm
(89) Moonrakers says:

Thanks for the info everyone!

December 30, 2012 at 11:07 am
(90) william says:

It is legal to make 10 gallons a year for personal use in Georgia.

December 31, 2012 at 12:14 pm
(91) dave says:

It is illegal to cross the street in anyplace but an intersection, but no one cares. Same thing about making liquor at home. No one cares so stop arguing about it.

January 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm
(92) opie says:

I’ve read most all of these comments and I’m not going to say that any one is wrong or right but with that said all laws nation wide were revamped after the introduction of ethanol used in gas and as an alternative fuel. So at some point I’m sure you were all right at some point in our nations history but the laws have changed very recently so you may want to read the new amendments that have changed the original laws to promote a “greener” world.

January 2, 2013 at 2:44 pm
(93) DUG says:


January 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm
(94) mark says:

Um if it was illegal there wouldnt be liquor all you need is a permit pay taxes on it and specific locations away from living quarters. liquor and shine are very much the same thing.. And if you want to get into the proofs of it well everclear is 100 proof so it pretty much is shine. It is pricey to start out ATF experimental licenses are like $ 3000 and in there it states you are allowed to only sell to wholesale buyers with the wholesale buyer permits, Meaning distributors who then make a slight profit to liquor stores who also need licenses to sell to the general public.. Now I believe liquor stores need a wholesale buyer permit as well, but making moonshine is just making high proof liquor.

January 13, 2013 at 10:39 pm
(95) TheResearcher says:

Federal Laws DO NOT always trump State Laws OR vice-versa. Under the Supremacy Clause, any state law that conflicts with a federal law is preempted. Below is the FEDERAL LAWS regarding home production of beer, wine, and spirits. If your state law is anything more lienient than this, it doesn’t matter. Also remember that your state law can legally be MORE STRICT than these federal statures (i.e. complete prohibition of home brewing).


(b) The production of beer per household, without payment of tax, for personal or family use may not exceed:

(1) 200 gallons per calendar year if there are two or more adults residing in the household, or (2) 100 gallons per calendar year if there is only one adult residing in the household.


(b) Quantity. The aggregate amount of wine that may be produced exempt from tax with respect to any household may not exceed:

(1) 200 gallons per calendar year for a household in which two or more adults reside, or

(2) 100 gallons per calendar year if there is only one adult residing in the household.


You may not produce spirits for beverage purposes without paying taxes and without prior approval of paperwork to operate a distilled spirits plant. [See 26 U.S.C. 5601 & 5602 for some of the criminal penalties.] There are numerous requirements that must be met that also make it impractical to produce spirits for personal or beverage use. Some of these requirements are paying special tax, filing an extensive application, filing a bond, providing adequate equipment to measure spirits, providing suitable tanks and pipelines, providing a separate building (other than a dwelling) and maintaining detailed records, and filing reports. All of these requirements are listed in 27 CFR Part 19.
Spirits may be produced for non-beverage purposes for fuel use only without payment of tax, but you also must file an application, receive TTB’s approval, and follow requirements, such as construction, use, records and reports.

January 13, 2013 at 10:52 pm
(96) TheResearcher says:

If you want to dispute the illegality of brewing ‘shine, please post the PROOF of your claim that it is legal via quoting law….not examples of how a friend of your grandfather’s brother’s nephew heard that it was legal…just the facts!

January 15, 2013 at 6:14 am
(97) bama says:

You will go to jail if you are caught with a fully assembled still and there is any mash around….You will also be charged for every 10 pounds of suger you have….You can even be charged for the mason jars….It is a felony to make spirits…You will go to prison….The show moonshiners is just a front…They are not making moonshine

January 16, 2013 at 10:31 pm
(98) nmanz88 says:

Its only illegal if u get caught

January 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm
(99) Steve Quarders says:

I watch Moonshiners all the time ,I love it!. Also watched a show with a tin man , a cowardly lion, and a scare crow, and a bad storm. I believe the credibility of facts for one as much as the the other to be pretty close to the same. I’m with the old shiners, make as much as you want ant Shut UP!!!

January 28, 2013 at 11:45 am
(100) mark says:

I have a Hydrometer and it offers 2 readings. A PR and a TR reading. Which one do you use? Also, what is wrong if after 1 week your TR reading is 20? Is the bucket letting air in?

January 30, 2013 at 3:26 pm
(101) Beast says:

This is all new to me. I really think it is unlawful to make shine, according to the feds. Maybe in most states. I do think as long as you don’t go telling the world how you are doing it, the law will leave you along. If you have one of those IQs that you just have to wave it in their face, Well! I just glad I don’t know you
I keep my shine for when company comes over, or we are at deer camp. Ever one knows not to ask questions about it. Everything works great

February 15, 2013 at 10:23 pm
(102) Slusher says:

Go to: http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/faq.shtml#s7

Here you will read that distilling is illegal; personal consumption or not:

“You may not produce spirits for beverage purposes without paying taxes and without prior approval of paperwork to operate a distilled spirits plant. [See 26 U.S.C. 5601 & 5602 for some of the criminal penalties.] There are numerous requirements that must be met that also make it impractical to produce spirits for personal or beverage use. Some of these requirements are paying special tax, filing an extensive application, filing a bond, providing adequate equipment to measure spirits, providing suitable tanks and pipelines, providing a separate building (other than a dwelling) and maintaining detailed records, and filing reports. All of these requirements are listed in 27 CFR Part 19.
Spirits may be produced for non-beverage purposes for fuel use only without payment of tax, but you also must file an application, receive TTB’s approval, and follow requirements, such as construction, use, records and reports.

February 19, 2013 at 8:06 pm
(103) stoneman says:

I know you can make beer and wine in NC.Police have been in my house and saw my wine maker.Dumbass’s thought it was a meth lab but when i showed them it was wine they said oh ok no problem .

February 20, 2013 at 6:21 pm
(104) Tickle says:

I am a life long shiner. Many of yall know me from a show call Moonshiners. Yes this is the real Tickle. Its illegal to make moonshine everywhere in this country. If you love America you love Moonshine.

March 5, 2013 at 11:22 pm
(105) Victoria says:

It’s illegal to make moonshine……..Check your federal laws. You can make beer and wine up to 200 gallons a year. I have researched this on countless websites because someone I know was thinking about making it. You can distill alcohol but only if it is used for fuel and even then you have to obtain licenses, certifications, some kind of bond and that crap, it is regulated by the BATF, and enforced by the United States treasury.DON’T MAKE MOONSHINE OR ANY ALCOHOL……IT’S ILLEGAL EVEN IF IT JUST FOR YOUR OWN CONSUMPTION. Also it doesn’t matter how much you distill it’s all illegal unless it is fuel only. If you think making moonshine is worth the risk of fines up to $10,000, 5 years in prison or both, FOR THE FIRST OFFENSE then have fun but keep in mind sometimes the Federal government also confiscates the property where the alcohol was being distilled.
The only other thing I found under federal law is that Missouri is the only state where it’s legal to distill alcohol. This is federal law you violate it, and get caught you aren’t getting away scott free. I also read a story about two men in Georgia distilling Moonshine in 2007 they pled gulity to making it and distributing it and not paying taxes and one of them was facing 35 years in jail. HAVE FUN ILLEGALLY DISTILLING YOUR MOONSHINE

March 8, 2013 at 7:59 am
(106) booger says:

I know whats wrong with these people, their drinking the first few oz of the run and are going blind and cant read the laws. ;-)

March 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm
(107) oldpappy says:

Missouri Revised Statutes

Postby KevInMo » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:48 pm
Take a look at this and tell me what you think.

Chapter 311
Liquor Control Law
Section 311.055
August 28, 2012
License to manufacture not required, personal or family use–limitation.

311.055. No person at least twenty-one years of age shall be required to obtain a license to manufacture intoxicating liquor, as defined in section 311.020, for personal or family use. The aggregate amount of intoxicating liquor manufactured per household shall not exceed two hundred gallons per calendar year if there are two or more persons over the age of twenty-one years in such household, or one hundred gallons per calendar year if there is only one person over the age of twenty-one years in such household.

Now if you read 331.020 it includes the word spirituous

Definition of intoxicating liquor.
311.020. The term “intoxicating liquor” as used in this chapter shall mean and include alcohol for beverage purposes, alcoholic, spirituous, vinous, fermented, malt, or other liquors, or combination of liquors, a part of which is spirituous, vinous, or fermented, and all preparations or mixtures for beverage purposes, containing in excess of one-half of one percent by volume. All beverages having an alcoholic content of less than one-half of one percent by volume shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter, but subject to inspection as provided by sections 196.365 to 196.445*.

[source http://www.moga.mo.gov/STATUTES/C311.HTM

March 25, 2013 at 11:14 am
(108) kayleigh B says:

yeeeee haaaa! Ih hav ben moooonshining since Ih could walk and it dont do me no harm!

April 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm
(109) Wtf says:

It’s never illegal if you don’t get caught.

April 11, 2013 at 9:29 am
(110) zerofuxgiven says:

Who cares let’s DRINK! People grow weed, consume it,or sell it and its illegal(except Colorado),but alot of people still do it. So maybe Moonshine is different in every state!

May 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm
(111) jim says:

I was thinking of making alcohol for many reasons, but after reading what some of you wrote, and tried to write, I have for sure changed my mind while I still have one. Good Luck yall……….

May 19, 2013 at 12:43 am
(112) Jenn says:

In Georgia it is legal as long as it is consumed on the property and a few days ago they passed a law which allows the transport of 25 gallons for special events

June 6, 2013 at 11:32 am
(113) Jose says:

congratulations if you can get a fruit juice fermented by only leaving it on the counter overnight

June 18, 2013 at 11:56 am
(114) Brett says:

You absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt are aloud to make any kind of alcoholic beverage, brewed or distilled, for your own consumption in the state of TN.

June 19, 2013 at 1:53 pm
(115) ivy says:

it depends on what state you live in. in mo it is legal to produce and posses up to 100 gallons for personal use but it is legal to sell or trade any of it..

August 14, 2013 at 10:32 pm
(116) Shawn says:

This is incredible. We have lawyers and moonshiners alike all disagreeing what is legal and what isn’t. Does anyone think you’ll be visited by the government because you brewed anything in your house or distilled in your garage or backyard? No. It only comes up when you are reported because of tax reasons. If you’re a big player in the game. The art of introducing yeast to a sugar mash has been done for 100′s of years and wine obviously dates back into the bible days. Guess what? It’s not going anywhere and never will.

August 16, 2013 at 11:22 am
(117) Maurice says:

What’s with all these “Federal” regulations comments….?

The same federal government that will take your tax-dollars to bail out corporations, that then continue to exploit you? I mean that’s okay because those same corporations fund the campaigns of the politicians that’s DON’T represent you.

I’d understand “federal” regulations on a meth lab, though just barely, because there are a few pharmaceutical companies that do FAR worse to the environment and entire areas they inhabit. But over a little whiskey, or even cannabis for personal consumption for that matter….

The federal government can’t even balance the budget, most likely because they’re overpaid and don’t want to give that up, now why they want to make and created industries on dictating to and enslaving non-violent decent people?

And then we got to here the boot-lickers or federal employees defend their precious federal government…?

August 18, 2013 at 2:06 am
(118) popcorns produseser says:


October 2, 2013 at 2:47 am
(119) beaver retriever says:

It is most definately 100% illegal to produce distilled alcohol in the U.S. for any reason what so ever unless you have built a proper and inspected distillery with all of the U.S.D.A. regulated materials and equipment even down to a U.S.D.A. qualified mash rake! Not to mention the proper insurance, filtration systems, reverse osmosis filters, logs on every amount of corn, sugar, water, yeast, and any other supplies used, and to top it all off a $200,000 bond and permit. You also have to have your bottles inspected and approved, your bottling label has to be approved, and so many other things I haven’t even listed! So anyone who thinks they can just produce distilled spirits at their house for any reason at all in the united states is just damn ignorant! Why do you think all of the moonshiners make their liquor in secluded areas in the woods! Jesus H Christ, I have never seen so much stupidity in one place in my entire life! You just go right ahead and make distilled alcohol and when your finished call the federal government and invite them over so you can explain what you made it for and let us all know in 5 to 15 years what happened! Lmao! Morons

October 17, 2013 at 1:53 am
(120) jt says:

Forget moon shine that is red neck as Hell.. I say grow some good marijuana and get stoned.. plants can’t blow up and in my world it’s legal always has been. True legalization would screw everything up for stoners like myself just because of that horrible government of ours.. the USA is Nothing near what it once was and it’s spiraling down into Nothing.. our end is near but their beginning is too.. when the power of love overcomes the love for power the world will know peace -jimi Hendrix

November 2, 2013 at 10:59 pm
(121) brad says:

to all the want to be lawyers here is what your US gov says; Can I produce beer, wine or spirits for my personal or family use without paying Federal excise tax and filing Federal paperwork?



Removal of beer.


Wine for personal or family use.


You cannot produce spirits for beverage purposes without paying taxes and without prior approval of paperwork to operate a distilled spirits plant. [See 26 U.S.C. 5601 & 5602 for some of the criminal penalties.] There are numerous requirements that must be met that make it impractical to produce spirits for personal or beverage use. Some of these requirements are paying excise tax, filing an extensive application, filing a bond, providing adequate equipment to measure spirits, providing suitable tanks and pipelines, providing a separate building (other than a dwelling) and maintaining detailed records, and filing reports. All of these requirements are listed in 27 CFR Part 19.

Spirits may be produced for non-beverage purposes for fuel use only without payment of tax, but you also must file an application, receive TTB’s approval, and follow requirements, such as construction, use, records and reports.

November 27, 2013 at 2:00 am
(122) jim says:

there is nothing illegal until you get caught

December 3, 2013 at 3:23 am
(123) wyatt says:

Being involved with shine for years and knowing Pop Corn Sutton personally, I can tell you with all certainty that distillation of any hard spirits is illegal. Its not illegal to own a still but build a fire under it and see how fast it turns that way. Like owning that water bong. Its not illegal till you used it.
Really tho, if you don’t have the level of intelligence required to even conceive the fact that your breaking the law, you don’t need to even be involved.
Good read tho guys. Passion for our pleasures.

March 7, 2014 at 1:17 am
(124) Ben in Alaska says:

You all are wrong about the legality of making shine. The law only applies to corporations…not sovereigns…

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>
Top Related Searches

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.