Making moonshine, which is essentially unaged whiskey, is popularly considered the pastime of bootleggers and smugglers, and its history is colored with crackdowns from the law and the establishment of secret moonshine stills across the Appalachian Mountains. Stills used to be hidden on farms, which were used for the production of other cover-up crops. Now moonshine production is strictly regulated and is commercially available from different brands, for those who have a taste for it. It is chosen for its high alcohol content, though if it is produced improperly it can contain high amounts of lethal substances. These concerns are valid when moonshine is produced inexpertly at home. So, while you read this article for your information purposes, remember, don’t try this at home!
1. Is owning a still legal?
No. Illinois statute, 235 IL 5/Article 10 Section 10.8 states that any still or other property designed to manufacture liquor must be confiscated. Accordingly, you cannot operate moonshine still at home for making small quantities of moonshine, nor can you own the machinery designed to carry out the procedure. You can only manufacture distilled alcohol on a commercial scale with a Distiller’s License, in a building other than a residence.
2. Is it possible to get a “student permit” to distill alcohol as part of a school science project?
The law clearly states, a school authority for an elementary school or high school may contact the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for a permit to set up a small “Alcohol Fuel Plant” at the school for the short duration required to carry out the science experiment. The experiment must be supervised by a qualified school authority that can oversee the process and ensure that it is carried out safely and securely.
3. What kind of a permit do I need to distill ethanol in Illinois?
The license required to distill ethanol in Illinois is a Class I Distillers License or a Class 9 Craft Distillers License (235 IL 5/Article V, Section 5.1). The fees are $3,600 for a Class I License and $1,800 for a Class 9 License (235 IL 5/Article V, Section 5.3).
You cannot distill alcohol for personal consumption. You must be registered as a commercial manufacturer of alcohol. In addition, you must provide the Illinois Liquor Control Commission with copies of your Federal Basic Permit and all Federal Label/Bottle Approvals. The required forms are available here http://www.illinois.gov/ilcc/Pages/Applications.aspx
For actually manufacturing alcohol without a license, Illinois statute 235 IL 5/Article 10 Section 10.1(a) provides for a fine up to $1,000 for the first offense and for the violation to be a Class 4 felony for all subsequent violations. Confiscation of the equipment may be the only penalty if there is no actual alcohol production.
4. Is it legal to distill essential oils and water in Illinois?
Yes, it is legal to distill essential oils and water under a Fuel Alcohol Permit.
For more information please visit Illinois Liquor Control Commission.
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.”
http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/index.shtml – Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Distilled Spirits
http://www.illinois.gov/ilcc/Pages/Applications.aspx – Illinois Liquor Control Commission