Is Moonshine Illegal?

Is Moonshine Illegal?

Traditionally made moonshine at home or by a home distiller is illegal.  Moonshine can be made legally by a commercial distiller.  Moonshine is simply an unaged corn whiskey that historically has been made illegally.

The simple answer when it comes to whether you can distill spirits like moonshine at home is- no, it is likely not legal to make.  This isn't true in a few places around the world like New Zealand or Russia where it's legal to distill at home. But, in most Western countries, including the United States, it is completely illegal to distill spirits at home, for personal consumption or sale. Spirits are valuable for governments from a tax perspective, as they are highly taxed in most countries.  Although some countries insist it's illegal because it's dangerous to make at home, this is often just used to discourage people from trying. It can be if made safely, and typically only becomes dangerous when the maker doesn't know what they're doing, or the alcohol is bulked up with methanol or chemicals, but this is rarely the case.

In some countries it's more of a grey area in terms of legality, as it maybe hasn't been made explicitly illegal. This would the case in places like Haiti or Colombia, where small villages still make traditional spirits, and little is done to enforce the laws, or the laws are unclear. Indonesia reigns as the kings of moonshine, as it's estimated more illegal home made spirit is consumed in the country than of commercially made spirits. 

In many countries you can own a still, including in the United States.  Should you want to use it for fuel (ethanol-based, just like you'd make for sprits) your still should be registered. If you want to use it for something else that isn't spirits, like essential oils, or water, you can as well.

Please check local laws if you decide to distill at home!