North Carolina Moonshine Laws

Moonshining is a craft deep rooted in American Culture and heritage. It is a secret barely kept that moonshine is still available and being produced in the state of North Carolina.

The craft never died, even after the prohibition laws were enacted by the government, making North Carolina the first state to go “dry”. Of course, moonshine was hardly accessible, but that did not prevent underground moonshiners and bootleggers to manufacture and to earn profits from it. Fire-water fuelled sport of NASCAR was also developed during that time, due to the same reasons.

North Carolinian moonshine comprises of native ingredients and flavours that are carefully put together by the moonshining companies that have been in the business for generations. There have also been some custom flavours in market to attract a wider range of consumers. Nowadays there are several small-scale moonshining companies in NC that are legally manufacturing moonshine under state legislature.


  1. Is it legal to possess a still in North Carolina?

Yes, it is legal to own a still in North Carolina on condition that you own it in order to create fuel alcohol, and nothing else!

But if you’re hoping to use it to distil alcohol of whatever kind or flavour, you had better think again!   And you had better think again about rather distilling the fuel alcohol and obtaining the state-issued fuel alcohol permit!

Commercial distilleries that possess a Distilled Spirits Permit may distribute alcohol in North Carolina; the permit is not practical for home production, neither is it easy to obtain.


  1. What are the permits required, if any, for distilling fuel alcohol?


Federal Operating Permit in accordance with Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations; Part 201.64 through 201.65 or Part 201.131 through 201.138 states:

An Operating Permit is essential for those who wish to manufacture any alcohol, and then they may only perform those acts sanctioned by the Permit;   all conditions of the Federal Operating Permit also apply to the State permit.


  1. What Permits sanction the distillation of Alcohol in North Carolina?


Chapter 18 B of the NC General Statutes and the NC Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission Rules. Chapter 18B presents the different types of commercial permits and the accompanying fees authorised by the ABC Laws: Commercial Activity (18B-1100):
The Commission may issue the following commercial permits relevant to the distillation of alcoholic beverages:   5. Distillery;   6. Fuel alcohol. Form (18B-1101) Authorization of distillery permit. Fee: $300.00 (18B-1105). The holder of a distillery permit may produce, sell, buy, transport the maximum amount of liquor permitted under federal law.

Chapter 18 B regulates Alcoholic Beverages:

  • 18B-102.  Production, sale, etc., is prohibited unless expressly authorized. (a) General Prohibition. –It is unlawful for any person to distil, trade, transport, consume, or possess any alcoholic beverages unless sanctioned by the ABC law. (b) Violation a Class 1 Misdemeanour. – Violation of provisions of Chapter 18B renders the perpetrator guilty of Class 1 misdemeanour; it is possible for other sanctions to be imposed. § 18B-307.  Manufacturing offenses: Possessing &/or selling ingredients for making alcoholic beverages is illegal – except when covered by a Brew on Premises permit or a Wynemaking on Premises permit. G.S. 18B-306: Unlawful Manufacturing: An ABC permit and revenue licenses as well as the Brew on Premises or Wynemaking on Premises permits are required.
  1. If it is licensed, is it still Moonshine?
Moonshine Construction in North Carolina

Moonshine Construction in North Carolina

Traditionally, Moonshine was called many things – Rot Gut, White Lightning, Firewater, Hooch; it was drunk out of mason jars and passed around among the group.   It was sometimes lethal, sometimes had all sorts of additives to give it ‘kick’, and, on one occasion, was stored in a barn where the farmer kept animal semen.   Nowadays, Moonshine is far more ‘respectable’ and in North Carolina a lot of legal Moonshine is coming onto the market.  ’Howling Moon Moonshine’ is one such a brew; micro distilleries continue to multiply in North Carolina, crafting small-batch moonshine. And currently, it’s legal.  It is said that the corn whiskey is 100-proof, and tastes exactly like moonshine, sipped out of a mason jar next to a bonfire. The liquid leaves a trail of heat in its wake and there’s a distinct flavour of the sweetest corn on the palate as the warmth subsides.   The drinker knows that it’s the real thing – the real, old-fashioned bootleggers’ hooch.

Links : – Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, North Carolina – Kinds of Commercial Permits, ABC Commission, North Carolina – ABC, Contacts

“Remember, the distillation of ethyl-alcohols is illegal without a permit per federal moonshine laws and is inherently dangerous because of ethanol’s flammability (never operate a homemade still indoors). For more moonshine laws and other moonshine still permit information, visit:”

“Finally, we are not lawyers, this info is for your entertainment only, so be sure to consult a crafty moonshine laws lawyer before spending any monies on your own distillation plant.”