Idaho is inevitably associated with potatoes, and here in Idaho the humble spud is put to the use of making alcohol. Moonshine, or unaged whiskey, is made commercially in Idaho, with different creative names like “Huckleberry” and “Spiced Apple Pie” as well as the plain sounding “straight”. The simple process and easily available raw materials for making moonshine (corn and sugar) make it difficult to legalize its production.
1. Is owning a still legal?
Yes, owning a still is legal if it is used for large scale commercial production of moonshine and the building is not a residence. Like all states, Idaho is subject to federal laws as well as its own state laws. Idaho Legislature Title 23: Alcoholic Beverages and Federal Code Title 27, Part 29, Subpart C covers the licensing, manufacturing and monitoring of commercial alcoholic beverage production in Idaho. The production of moonshine is permitted in Idaho, if it is done in large quantities and the company is registered as a distillery. The company may be registered as a fuel plant, distilled spirits plant or experimental distilled spirits plant, in which case it is subject to federal regulations for construction, equipment purchase and operation. When these requirements are fulfilled, a license is issued by the government and the moonshine still becomes operational. The manufacturer must pay taxes on its production. You cannot make moonshine at home for personal use.
2. Is it possible to get a “student permit” to distill alcohol as part of a school science assignment?
According to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a permit for an “Alcohol Fuel Plant” can be given to a school in order to perform experiments of this nature for elementary to high school students only. The permit is obtained by an authorized representative of the school submitting the application form 5110.74 in order to establish a small Alcohol Fuel Plant at the school. The experiment must be carried out under adult supervision. The school official must inform how long the experiment will last.
3. What kind of permit do I need to distill ethanol in Idaho?
The Idaho Legislation Title 23 Chapter 5 of Alcoholic Beverages states that a manufacturer’s license for producing alcohol may be issued when the requirements for the license are met, and the cost of the license is one hundred dollars. The alcohol production license may be suspended or revoked depending on the severity of the offence. For example, having an unlicensed room in the distillery qualifies for the license being revoked. Gambling on licensed premises qualifies for 30 day suspension of the license. The full list of offences and their penalties may be viewed at http://www.isp.idaho.gov/abc/inc/documents/PenaltySchedulefinal.pdf
4. Is it legal to distill essential oils and water?
Yes. One may distill essential oils and water by registering one’s company as a fuel plant or an experimental distilled spirits plant. It may be done as part of a school project with a special permit or by a registered company with a manufacturer’s license.
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: http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/faq.shtml”