Skip to comments.Making Moonshine At Home Is On The Rise. But It's Still Illegal
Posted on 01/27/2014 2:03:55 PM PST by Theoria
Within days after each season premiere and season finale of the Discovery Channel's reality show "Moonshiners," they come a small but perceptible wave of people to purchase suspiciously large amounts of corn, sugar and hardy strains of fermenting yeast at Austin Homebrew Supply.
"We know what they're up to," says Chris Ellison, the manager of the Texas store.
That is, it's obvious they're planning to ferment the sugars from grain or fruit juice into alcohol, then distill the resulting mid-strength beverage into high-alcohol hooch.
Making spirits at home with plans to drink it is against federal law. Only with the right permits may a person make ethanol, either for use strictly as fuel, or as part of a commercial endeavor like launching a craft spirits company, of which hundreds have opened nationwide in recent years.
Yet more and more people seem to be making home moonshine, according to sources.
"The interest level is growing rapidly," says Gary Robinson, owner of Moonshine Still Pro, a supplier in Missouri. Robinson sells stills which are perfectly legal to own from roughly three gallons in capacity to about 13. He ships to all states, but the core regions of his business are the traditional southeastern moonshine districts and the West Coast.
Mike Haney, owner of Hillbilly Stills in Barlow, Ky., says his sales of ethanol stills have doubled every year for three years since he opened. "Just that someone buys a still doesn't mean they're out to break the law," Haney points out. "A lot of people are making fuel."
Haney also sells miniature oak barrels the sort used for aging bourbon and brandy.
"But they might be aging wine in them, or just buying everclear from a supermarket and putting that in the barrel," he says.
(Excerpt) Read more at npr.org ...
Bammy don’t follow the rulz, why should anyone else?
Popcorn Sutton would be proud.
I thought Everclear was grain alcohol!
It could be that too.
I mean I look at this and it seems to say that the federal government cannot legitimately do so:
AMENDMENT XXIWhere the 18th says:
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
No matter how much society breaks down, booze will be a viable commodity for trade.
I remember watching a story about how a teenage Jack Daniel, apprentice at a distillery whose owner was drafted into the army, made a small fortune selling to both sides of the conflict.
I thought it was illegal to manufacture moonshine to SELL (without the appropriate leech ... er, I mean ...government ... stamps). How do home beer brewers and winemakers get away with it?
that falls under a different cat. but, ya can run a still, but, uncle sam has to get his cut.
The libertarian movement has been obsessed with legalizing this and fighting tobacco laws, for 40 years........ haven’t they?
Don’t know. don’t know why it was ever ‘illegal’.
The article is poorly worded. It’s not illegal to make the stuff. It’s illegal to make it without required permits and/or not pay tax on it.
There was once a time long ago when I would have agreed moonshiners should be prosecuted for breaking the laws/avoiding the taxes.
No more, and never again. It is the principle.
I’ve been looking into the possibilities of a multipurpose still and have been checking out these folks: http://www.milehidistilling.com/
They make a mighty fine calendar too ;’)
It’s legal to make 100 gallons of beer or wine for personal use.
>>I mean I look at this and it seems to say that the federal government cannot legitimately do so:
It’s quaint that you still think the government has to follow rules.
As I understand it (and I could be wrong), the fed gov puts something like a $13.50 lien on every gallon of alcohol produced. So, to produce without the proper permits and tax filings and regulatory overhead is “tax evasion”.
Corn is a cereal grain.
The answer is no, just as we don’t hear a peep from them on tobacco laws, even recent ones signed by Obama at the federal level.
Why is NPR ignoring that the federal government can only regulate intrastate activity when the states delegate appropriate powers to the feds, via the Constitution, to do so? Concerning alcoholic beverages, this is evidenced by the 18th Amendment which was later repealed by the 21st Amendment.
With the exception of the federal entities indicated in the Constitution's Clause 17 of Section 8 of Article I, note that the Supreme Court has officially clarifed related issues which reflect that Congress has no constitutional authority to regulate the issue addressed by this thread.
State inspection laws, health laws, and laws for regulating the internal commerce of a State (emphasis added), and those which respect turnpike roads, ferries, &c. are not within the power granted to Congress. (emphases added) Gibbons v. Ogden, 1824.
"From the accepted doctrine that the United States is a government of delegated powers, it follows that those not expressly granted, or reasonably to be implied from such as are conferred, are reserved to the states, or to the people. To forestall any suggestion to the contrary, the Tenth Amendment was adopted. The same proposition, otherwise stated, is that powers not granted are prohibited. None to regulate agricultural production is given, and therefore legislation by Congress for that purpose is forbidden (emphasis added)." --United States v. Butler, 1936.
I suspect that a lot of state lawmakers who agree with the federal laws on this issue don't understand that the feds currently have no constitutional authority from the states to make laws concerning such things.
That'd just about get my ex through February. It IS a short month.
Whiskey Rebellion started on this very ground where I sit, 1791.
And the Feds STILL haven’t won it.
“How do home beer brewers and winemakers get away with it?”
Jimmy Carter created the exemption for homebrewers, but it didn’t apply to distilling alcohol.
Varies by state, some say 200. That might make it to march for him.
But by what right can the [federal] government require permits/tax?
Ask John Roberts - its the taxation power.
I don’t know the economics of home hootch. Can you personally drink enough to recoup the costs? Will it taste as good as Jack Daniels? What’s the market (legal or illegal) for home grown booze?
actually, it’s a her.
Internet postings indicate you can make decent vodka for 5 bucks a gallon in materials.
But I think you’d have to knock back a lot of booze to really have any significant savings if you include capital and labor costs.
I’d view it as more of an insurance policy for SHTF situations.
Neither beer nor wine are distilled spirits and for the record its not illegal to make moonshine at home...
its Illegal to make moonshine at home without the gub'ment issued license and then you get to pay a tax so your stuff is legal.
The problem is that to be in compliance with all the rules and regs to get a license to do so takes lots of cash!
It’s a matter of alcohol content in the final product.
Besides, the wine and beer you make at home must not be up for sale.
The Constitution does not empower the Congress to legislate you. Is the criminal charge manufacturing alcohol or is the charge tax evasion?
I am probably late on this thread but perhaps someone can clear this up for me.
I believe that at one time an individual could manufacture up to 200 gallons of alcohol each year for their own family consumption without incurring a tax.
I have no other details. Does anyone know the facts?
So the distinction is between brewed and fermented spirits versus distilled spirits?
The repeal of prohibition has nothing to do with this. Making moonshine is not illegal. It is the failure to pay the taxes on producing moonshine that is illegal. And the Constitutional authority for that is Article 1, section 8, clause 1.
The way I understood it was that so long as it was personal consumption it was fine. Try to sell it and that is illegal. I assume it’s okay to give it away however.
Article I, section 8, clause 1: "The Congress shall have the Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises..."
Made around 100 gallons back in ‘89. Came out 110 proof and cost about $1.50 per quart to produce. Drank it as fast as we made it. Sure glad livers regenerate.
I’m not sure, but that’s what I have heard.
Unless the a-holes changed the law, it’s legal to make 200 gallons of whiskey per year for personal use. Also 200 gallons of beer. That’s a LOT of booze for a person to consume.
I believe that it goes way back to just after the Revolutionary War. The Colonies had morphed into States and populations were on the rise. Ambitious farmers could move westward and open up a prosperous life on the "frontier". They soon learned that logistics were entirely different from what had been their normal way of conduction business. The vast expanses of the newly opened lands caused their expenses for transporting their grain crops to market to skyrocket until someone (probably Scotch) built a still and the rest was history.
Transporting wagon loads of grain was replaced by kegs and barrels which were much easier to ship. There was money to be made and it wasn't long before the Federal Government instituted a tariff on distilled spirits. The farmers, having recently booted King George's tax collectors back to England were in no mood to split their profits with a fresh batch of parasites.
George Washington, not in a mood to allow open rebellion, sent in the army to quash the "Whisky Rebellion"1. Said quashing was accomplished in short order and we are still faced with paying "Excise" taxes to this day!
1 Google "Whisky Rebellion" for more background.
No, 200 gallons of wine or beer for personal use (not for resale) is allowed. Distilled alcohol (as a fuel or consumption) has to have permits, records and pay taxes on each gallon by proof. Unless you have a lot of money to put into this, it’s a p.i.t.a. to go legal. Which is the way they want it.
You don’t hear because you ain’t listening.
I’m in Texas.
A still can be used for many purposes. You can distill creek water into potable in larger quantities quicker with a still.If a person is into survivalism, that is.
I’m in Arkansas.
I believe one can make ethanol for fuel. It only becomes illegal if you drink it.
Easiest way to make a still is to use a pressure canner. Remove the pressure gauge and attach a piece of copper tubing. You can use a cork as a connector. A thermometer plumbed into the canner lid is nice to have. Run your collector tube into a copper cool in a bucket with a spigot coming out the edge at the bottom of the bucket. Fill the bucket with ice and water. Fill the pressure cooker 3/4 full with some kind of wine or mash. Heat to 180 degrees (no higher) and wait for the shine to come out the spigot. Always want to discard the first five shots (fore shots) because any methanol and impurities will come off first. You should yield 1 part shine for 10 parts wine as most wine is around 10% ABV. If you are just starting, is is easiest to distill wine. Cooking and fermenting mash takes some wisdom. Your wisdom will come mostly from bad experience.
This will make really good fuel for your mower..
You have to have permits for either one. And you can expect unannounced visits to your premises if you somehow do get said permit.