Colorado Moonshine Laws

In Colorado there had been political or social movements against liquor and alcohol since long ago, that resulted in prohibition four years prior the federal prohibition was imposed. That was time when moonshine began to flourish. Moonshine production grew in numbers and many famous moonshiners were known as heroes. The prohibition era proved to be a major event in shaping the laws and culture of Colorado since the approach of local leaders and politicians changed after prohibition.

Nowadays, Colorado Springs can be called a hub of local distilleries thanks to its touristic value. Along with legal distilleries there function a number of illegal moonshiners throughout the state that use legal loopholes to claim their ‘fundamental rights.’

1. Is owning a still legal?

Yes, it is legal to own a still since the state statutes do not prohibit owning a still but do prohibit the manufacture of moonshine or consumable alcohol without a license.

The state statutes Section 12-47-901 clearly states that it is unlawful to manufacture or sell ethanol in Colorado without necessary licenses. It will be considered as a misdemeanor and charges will be levied against the manufacturer. Additionally, all apparatus will also be seized. (Section 12-47-906(1)). Please note that the production of fermented malt by a head of state is legal if all regulations are fulfilled (Section 12-47-106).

Since the possession of still is not unlawful, the production of distilled liquids such as essential oils and distilled water is allowed stated that no unlawful ingredients are used or no unlawful by products are formed. Additionally, you will have to abide by the federal and state regulations as well.

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

In the state of Colorado, you do need apermit for distilling ethanol even for educational purposes. Although the state does not issue any such permit, a permit will be issued by the TTB allowing you to visit a distillery or operate in your educational institute. For distilling ethanol at school, your institute needs to get an Alcohol Fuel Plant Permit by contacting them. Or, you can visit other distilleries by contacting TTB who authorize you to visit certified distilleries to carry out your experiments.

3. What kind of a permit do I need to distill alcohol in Colorado?

– Manufacturer’s license issued by the state. You need to fill and submit the following forms in order to obtain the form:
Supplier Application (DR 8409)
Individual History (DR 8404-I)
Lawful Presence Affidavit (DR 4679)

– TTB Distilled Spirits Permit and a TTB Basic Permit

If you are interested in manufacturing ethanol fuel for personal use, you do not need any state license as no such license exists since the State of Colorado encourages the usage of ethanol fuel. But you will need a federal license. The Colorado state requires the producers to meet only ASTM Distillation requirements.

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!


“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 – Colorado Liquor Code – Colorado Department of Revenue Enforcement Website