Texas Moonshine Laws

Distilleries have existed in Texas through the history. The prohibition era encouraged the spread of illegal moonshine all over the state while many people benefited from this by becoming directly or indirectly involved in the business. While the leaders and politicians supported the Prohibition, many locals spoke out against it as it was a family business for most of them and their recipes were carried out through generations.

Moonshiners who were able to outsmart the law enforcement officials were considered to be heroes and their tales were told. Such was the success of moonshining industry that it was considered to be an alternative to the low paying jobs during the Great Depression.

Post prohibition era led to a decline in the production and usage of moonshine in Texas. This was due to the fact that the law enforcement agencies started to use better detection methods and legal cheaper ethanol flooded the markets. Although most of the industry has disappeared, some enthusiastic moonshiners still operate though hiding from the law enforcement agencies. Others are legally registered and are subjected to regulations and taxes.

  1. Is domestic production of moonshine illegal?

Yes it is. In fact the code of TABC states:

The head of a family or an unmarried adult may produce for the use of his family or himself not more than 200 gallons of wyne, bier, malt liquor, or ale, per year. No permit or license is required.” (Sec. 109.21 (a))

Hence, liquor or bier can be produced legally without a license BUT a federal permit is required to fulfill federal moonshine laws. Furthermore, it is important to note that distilling moonshine is not legal or any method which increases the ethanol content to as stated in Sec. 109.21  (b).

No official forms or fee is required for manufacturing bier/wyne up for home made use for up to 200 gallons per 2 adult household.

In order to manufacture moonshine more than 200 gallons or through distillation, a commercial permit has to be obtained which subjects a person to taxes and fees. There are different types of permits that can be obtained. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage commission allows registration and renewal of license online.

  1. What are the Texas moonshine laws regarding ethanol fuel distillation?

According to HB 1986, it is legal to produce ethanol fuel through distillation in the state laws as well as the federal law. However, permits have to be obtained in order to do so. The state of Texas requires the producers to obtain a Local Industrial Producers Permit from TABC while the federal law requires the producers to obtain an Alcohol Fuel Producer permit from http://www.ttb.gov/forms/f511074.pdf.

  1. Is there any provision in the TABC regarding distillers for educational purposes?

The code of TABC does not specifically talk about distillers for educational purposes but there are federal laws regarding it. Distillation at homes is not allowed even for educational purposes. But, educational institutes can apply for the Alcohol Fuel Permit application.

Moonshine Still Construction in Texas

Moonshine Still Construction in Texas

Distillation has to be done under supervision and the facility has to be kept locked otherwise restricting access to it.


http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/ .  –  Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission

http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/licensing/index.asp – Licensing, TABC

http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/contact_us/headquarters.asp – contact HQ, TABC


“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: http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/faq.shtml.”

“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.”