If you are interested in making moonshine for personal or commercial use, you are likely wondering if this prospective hobby is legal or not. Learning the laws related to moonshine and home distilleries is a wise move that can keep you out of potential trouble when you’re making your own moonshine.
Federal Distilled Spirits Permit
If you’re planning starting a distillery or setting up a large scale home distillery, you will need to get a permit if you would like to distill without violating state or federal laws.
If you would like to make moonshine without any legal risk, getting a federal distilled spirits permit is your first option. Depending on your state, you will need to pay a fee to get started as well as list your equipment and ingredients on your application.
Here’s a link to the federal spirits permit page. You can find out most everything that you need to know, as well as the next steps to take here: https://www.ttb.gov/spirits/spirits-permits.shtml
If you’re properly permitted, inspectors from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will conduct regular inspections of your distillery to check for compliance. Any issues can result in fines or even the shut down of your distillery.
Under federal law, you can also apply for an alcohol fuel producer permit.
These permits are much easier to get, and you won’t need to worry about regular visits from government officials. The catch with this path is that you are not legally allowed to consume the alcohol you produce. Many people, however, opt for this permit and still consume what they make.
Are There Penalties for Making Moonshine Without a Permit?
Like it or not, there are potential penalties for making moonshine without the proper permit.
You might be considering making moonshine without a permit so that you can skip the fee and red tape, but if you’re in violation of state and/or federal laws you’ll be facing fines and potential prison time.
Depending on your setup there’s really a wide scale for the legal repercussions of a non-permitted distillery. Likely for the small home distillery, you’ll get a warning or a small citation.
Worst case scenario, illegal distilleries could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Most people shy away from making moonshine when they hear about the potential fallout, but some people refuse to let legal technicalities get in the way.
Check Your Local Laws
The regulations listed in this guide only relate to federal laws, and it’s important you remember that your local and state laws might be different.
You could feel tempted to overlook some steps so that you can get started with your distillery, but you need to educate yourself on the process and each law that could affect your freedom and financial stability.
If you have more questions about the legality of making your own moonshine and various moonshine laws, get in touch with Hillbilly Stills today!