South Carolina Moonshine Laws

South Carolina is a state in the South-eastern United States; it is bordered to the north by North Carolina, to the south and west by Georgia (the Savannah River forms the border), and to the east by the vast waters of the ocean.                                                                                                                                                                                           South Carolina has a fascinating history: The Province of South Carolina became a slave society once rice and indigo were established as commodity crops.   After 1708, most of the population was slaves from Africa. It was the first of the 13 colonies that declared independence from the British Crown during the American Revolution.   It was the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation, and on May 23, 1788 – the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Later, South Carolina became the first state to vote to secede from the Union which it did on December 20, 1860 but on June 25, 1868 it was readmitted to the United States.

  1. Is it legal to own a still in South Carolina?

Yes it is legal to own a still in South Carolina. However, South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-4100 provides that it is unlawful for a person in this state to produce, trade or have in his possession a distillery (or, commonly called, a still) or any integral part of a distillery, or a device, appliance, apparatus, or substitute therefore to be used for the purpose of manufacturing alcohol, in defiance of the laws of this State.  Possession that cannot be explained of any part of an appliance or still, or any apparatus or substitute therefore, commonly or generally used for or that is suitable to be used in the manufacture of prohibited alcoholic liquors constitutes prima facie evidence of the violation of this section. This means that it can be rebutted with evidence that the still is being used to produce something other than alcohol, like distilling water.  If that evidence cannot be presented then the still is not illegal.

  1. Is it legal to distill alcohol without a commercial distiller’s permit or a fuel alcohol permit?

South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-4010 states that (A) making, keeping, transporting or selling alcoholic beverages excepting that which has been acquired in a lawful manner and in accordance with the provisions of the title, is unlawful; possession of alcoholic beverages for use that does not comply with the provisions of  the title, is also unlawful.

  1. What charges and penalties apply for illegally distilling alcoholic beverages?

Charge: Misdemeanor; Maximum Fine: 1st offense: not less than $600;  2nd offense: $1,500;  3rd and subsequent offenses:  $3000.

An additional charge of $20 per container of illegal alcohol;

Maximum Jail Term:  1st offense: 6 months; 2nd offense: 1year; 3rd and subsequent offenses: 2 years.

Can property be seized?  Yes. South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-2610 among other statutes refers.

South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-4030/4300 provides that vehicles used in transporting illegal liquor can be seized.


Can a still and/or anything else be seized?   Yes, it can.                                                                                                                                                    A general statute states that any property that is illegal to possess is subject to seizure.

South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-4030 and 4300 provides that vehicles, vessels and aircraft used to transport illegal liquor may be seized.


  1. Is a commercial distillery permit available?


South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-1120 provides that the department may issue a micro distillery license to a person to operate one micro distillery in the State in accordance with the requirements of the chapter and payment of a biennial micro distillery license fee of $5000.

A micro distillery is not required to obtain an additional manufacturing and retail liquor license required pursuant to this title. The limits of production as well as sale for a Micro-Distillery are very small.

South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-1110 authorizes a full Manufacturer’s License to distill alcoholic liquors in the State subject to the requirements of this chapter and on payment of a biennial manufacturer license fee of $50000, together with a filing fee of $200.  A further requirement is the possession of a bond of $10,000.

The Micro-distillery License costs $5000 biennial fee and the filing fee is $200, while the necessary amount for the bond is $10000.                                                                                                                                                                                      A Commercial Distillery permit costs $50,000 biennial fee, plus a $200 filing fee. It is also required to have a $10,000 bond.


  1. Is a fuel alcohol permit available?


There is no fuel alcohol permit available; no charge is levied and no online permit application is available.                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ethanol and alternative fuel production is encouraged and allowed, but no specific permit or license is required. However, there are various proposals being discussed in the alternative fuel area that could result in some type of specific production License of Permit being required at any time.

  1. Is motor fuel user fee applicable to Fuel Grade Ethanol?


Moonshine Still Construction in South Carolina

Moonshine Still Construction in South Carolina

Ethanol is not subject to the motor fuel user fee of 16 cents per gallon until it is blended with a motor fuel subject to the user fee.  Blenders that are engaged in blending ethanol with products subject to the motor fuel user fee are required to obtain the appropriate license and remit the motor fuel user fee and other applicable fees directly to the Department of Revenue.





Links: – South Carolina Alcohol Beverage (ABL) Licensing – ABL Regulations, South Carolina – South Carolina commercial distillery permit application online


 “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 information is for your entertainment only, so be sure to consult a crafty moonshine laws lawyer before spending any monies on your own distillation plant.”