You Can Build It, But You Better Not Use It – Homemade Moonshine is Still Illegal
Honestly, I'm not sure for the life of me why making your own hooch is still illegal in this county but it is, so even though it's legal to buy everything you need to make your own moonshine in most states, the feds still say NO.
This story came up the other day when I was thumbing through Facebook on my phone. It went something like; stupid stuff, stupid stuff, way stupid stuff, wait, was that a still? I scrolled back and sure enough, I saw an ad on FB for home distilling equipment. Which of course brought up the question is it legal to distill white lighting, moonshine, hooch, apple pie, etc. for your own consumption?
Is It Legal?
The short answer is simply, no. It is a Federal law, you can make beer and wine for personal consumption, but not spirits. There are some states that have laws allowing for personal distilling and consumption of up to 100 gallons per year, that sounds like a lot to me, Missouri for example allows that much. Some other states that allow home distilling are Alaska, Arizona, Main, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio and Rhoad Island, according to an article on WhiskeyRide.com. But Federal law trumps state law so even though there may not be any licenses or fees to worry about in those states, the Feds still say no. Texas and Arkansas do not even allow you to own equipment that is capable of making illegal alcohol without a specific Distilling License, the laws vary by state according to DistillIt.org. In some states, you can legally distill alcohol for fuel, just not for human consumption.
Brewing your own beer or wine became legal in the US back in 1978 so I guess there's hope for home distilling yet.
But I Know A Guy...
Oh don't worry, we all know that guy, the guy that always seems to have a little "apple pie" at the bonfire. It really does taste like apple pie too, doesn't it? Amazing. I digress, if you're looking to take the chance to be "that guy," it all comes down to enforcement. My guess is unless you're running a large or dangerous operation with lots of customers, your chances of getting caught are probably kinda low. However, we cannot and do not endorse any illegal activity, we're simply trying to answer some questions here. Of course, if you are "that guy" and you just happen to offer me a small glass of pie at the next bonfire... I'm just saying.
Stay safe, stay legal and Salute!