Alaska Moonshine Laws

Moonshine has been a common tradition in Alaska partially because of its cold weather. For centuries, the consumption of moonshine in the state remained high, however its large-scale illegal production started when the American army took over. Rumors had it that a Sitka soldier taught the locals to make moonshine of molasses. This led to a drastic increase in the trade of molasses which was eventually banned by the government. Local moonshine was also known as “hoochinoo” in most parts of Alaska.

During prohibition period, fox farms were widely used to cover up moonshine operations thanks to their location in remote areas. Moonshiners were treated as heroes by the public and as a result they were hard to prosecute. Moreover, there were many cases when the captured moonshiners were let off free by the jury despite of overwhelming evidence against them.

Some moonshiners used to store their products in deep forests where it was hard to find for the law enforcement agencies. However, history preserved some hilarious incidents when such storages were attacked by bears with the latter going on a rampage after consuming moonshine.

1. Is owning a still legal?

Yes it is legal but only in wet counties. There are numerous dry counties in Alaska so it is better to check with your local authorities if owning a still and manufacturing is legal.

It is legal to own a still without a license in Alaska. And one can manufacture moonshine for private consumption in Alaska unless it exceeds the limits of federal law without a state license though federal permits are necessary. (Alaska Legislature Sec. 04.21.015). But a manufacturer’s license is required to make moonshine for commercial use. (Sec. 04.11.010)

Since it is mentioned that there is no restriction on making moonshine for personal use, distilling oils or water is also legal for personal use only and no license is required to do so. But again, it is important that you contact your local municipality to confirm for laws regarding distilling since the state legislature allows municipalities to impose stricter laws.

For complete information, restrictions and laws visit

2. Is it possible to get a “student permit” to distil alcohol as a part of school science assignment?

Yes it is possible but there are a few factors to take into consideration. While the state government does allow distillation at homes, anyone under 21 years of age is not allowed to do so. Additionally, federal law also doesn’t allow you to own a still or use it for distilling ethanol even for educational purposes without a license. So, you cannot distill ethanol for laboratory purposes at home but an ‘Alcohol Fuel Plant’ can be obtained by educational institute to start distillation in the institute.The form can be found here.

3. What kind of a permit do I need to distill ethanol in Alaska?

First you need a distiller’s license which will allow you to produce moonshine for commercial use. For private use, you do not need any license except for state permits and following their regulations. The distiller’s license also allows you to sale distilled spirits more than 5 gallons so you do not need to have a separate license to sell the moonshine. (Sec. 04.11.170). Get more information and instructions from:

Please note that you do need federal permits for making moonshine. You can acquire them by filling the TTB Basic Permit and TTB Distilled Spirit plant form.

For more information, visit the Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board website.

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!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“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:”





Links: – Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Distilled Spirits – Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board