Why is Moonshine Illegal? Major Reasons

Here is why Moonshine is illegal despite the fact that it has had a place in American mythos for 100 years. Read below to get the reasons.

Why is Moonshine Illegal?

Moonshine has made something of a comeback in recent years. The Discovery Channel has capitalized on the moonshine craze with the popular TV show ‘Moonshiners.’

This show has been successful in promoting illegal moonshine, causing fans to purchase their own home distilling equipment and supplies in order to make their own moonshine.

However, before making moonshine at home, think twice.

It is illegal to manufacture any spirit (including moonshine) without the proper permits. When distilling any alcohol, remember to check your state laws.

What is Moonshine?

Moonshine is a generic slang term that refers to potently strong and illegally made alcoholic spirits.

The word was first associated with bootleggers who were attempting to make and sell alcohol during the Prohibition era.

In modern times, Moonshine is still used to describe illegal homemade alcohol, some certified distillers will often sell beverages that are described as moonshine for novelty value or to describe its stronger than usual taste.

Some moonshine producers will seek to offer reproductions of clear high-proof homemade alcohol from the Prohibition era.

But moonshine can be used to describe anything that pertains to be strong, homemade, and illicit – such as strong types of whiskey or “bathtub” gin.


What Is Moonshine Made from?

Moonshine can be made from any grain or fruit but is most commonly made using corn. 

Since the majority of people who distill their own spirits are farmers or live in rural areas, they tend to use whatever crop they have a surplus of for distilling into moonshine.

Corn is often preferred both because of its abundance and because it is a good source of fermentable sugar.

Why is Making Moonshine Illegal in the US?

Across the US and most parts of Europe, distilling is against the law.

There are many reasons that governments choose to prevent their citizens from making their own alcohol.

In fact, even buying or owning any type of still (the vessel used to distill spirits) is illegal in many countries.

Officially, the US government regards moonshine as a “fanciful term” and doesn’t regulate its use.

But distillers are required to hold permits to ensure both traceability and quality control of alcoholic beverages.

Until 1978, it was illegal to home-brew liquor or beer.

But a growing number of oenophiles and beer connoisseurs wanted to make their own, and they helped pressure Congress to decriminalize home-brews across the country.

Today, federal rules say a household with two adults can brew up to 200 gallons of wine and the same amount of beer each year.

What’s the Penalty for Making Moonshine?

Within title 26 of the United States Code, Section 5601 sets out criminal penalties for various activities.

These activities include:

‣ Possession of an unregistered still

‣ Engaging in business as an un-certified distiller

‣ Producing distilled spirits without a license

‣ Removal or concealment of distilled spirits on which tax has not been paid

‣ Selling illegal spirits, which defrauds the US government of “rightful taxation”

Offenses under this section are considered felonies that are punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, for each offense.

Is Moonshine Dangerous?

Yes, moonshine =- or strong, homemade alcoholic drinks – is dangerous.

Without proper training and licenses, people attempting to make and distill their own spirits are not aware of the proper use of its primary ingredient – ethanol.

Is Making Moonshine Illegal?

Yes, making moonshine without the proper permits is a crime. However, as previously stated, permits and licenses can be obtained to distill and sell your own clear alcohol.

Just make sure you follow all of the procedures and obtain all of the necessary documentation before beginning the process. You don’t want to start selling liquor online only to have the government shut it down.


However, Moonshine is illegal in the U.S. because it contains spirits and some alcoholic substance that is dangerous to human mental disposition. We believe the above piece of information has answered your question. Please, kindly share this content on all the available social media platforms.

CSN Team.

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