Montana Moonshine Laws

Montana Moonshine is manufactured from gradual distillation of four distinct grains; each brings out its special flavor and essence to the beverage. Additional ingredients such as honey and native chokecherries are also added to further enhance the taste and odor of the produced spirit. These Montana based moonshine manufacturers are also famous for their astounding perfection in the age-old craft of spirit distillation, since their products are allowed to age before they are sold in retail market.
Moonshining in Montana was limited to a bunch of small-scale micro-distilleries post-prohibition era. The industry however, made a decent come-back after the Micro-distillery act of 2005 was passed, and allowed natives to produce and sell regulated amounts of beverages after attaining a state issued license.
Distilleries opened after the act was issued, try their best to maintain versatility and variety, such as: having distinctive spirits, additives, flavors, and seals than other companies in order to separate their brand from other manufacturers. Having received excellent reviews from bar-owners, modern moonshines are now being called, “The new taste of the old-west”.

1. Is it legal own a still in Montana?

It is legal to own a still in Montana without a state license. While the laws do prohibit a person from manufacturing moonshine without a license, they do not prohibit owning a license. Hence, you can own a still legally if you do not use it to make ethanol beverages.
Montana Code § 16-4-311states that you need a distillery license in order to distill or sell ethanol or moonshine. It is also stated in §16-1-201 that the state will follow the federal laws and anyone registered with the federal agencies can distill moonshine.
The 2005 Legislature passed enabling legislation, and then in 2007 regulations were promulgated that allow micro-distilleries the same conditions of operation as bier-making microbreweries have in Montana. Microbreweries may now have tasting rooms, for selling strictly limited amounts of their products. In the case of micro-distilleries this would be no more than one liter per person per day and two shots of liquor per person per day at the tasting bar.

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

No, there is no such student permit available that will allow distilling ethanol to students in their homes. But you can contact authorities and get permission for visiting certified distilleries. Furthermore, your institute can also contact TTB to get an AFP Permit that will allow you to distill ethanol in your school institute. Other than these, there is no student permit available.

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

You need a distillery license which will be issued by the state and it will allow you to manufacture or sell alcoholic beverages. There are also micro-distillery licenses available and domestic distillery.

The cost of this license is $600 annual fee and a processing fee of $100. (16-4-501)

The Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) require all distilleries, both within and without the state, to have its appropriate basic permit. This permits distilleries to import, brew and distribute products.

You can also manufacture ethanol fuel without a license in Montana as the state is taking steps to promote ethanol fuel. Certain taxes have also been exempted from ethanol fuel. If you want to distribute ethanol fuel, you will have to sign a bond with the authorities worth $1000.The state requires you to follow ASTM D439 volatility requirements.

4. Is distillation of essential oils or water legal in Montana?

It is important to note that the Montana code clearly states that manufacturing other non-consumable ethanol liquids is legal. §16-1-202states that it is legal to distill such liquids or other essential oils. Hence you can distill essential oils or water without a license in Montana.

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!

montana“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 – Montana Official State Website, Liquor Control – Alcohol Beverage Licenses, Government of Montana – Contact Information for Liquor Control