South Dakota Moonshine Laws

South Dakota is the 17th most extensive state of America for the total area that it covers. However it is rated as the 5th least populous state. South Dakota is an agriculture state and its economy highly depends on the produce of corn, soybeans and wheat. Not only corn and wheat, but sweet tea, raspberries, jalapenos, strawberries are used in alcohol making in South Dakota.South Dakota is famous for its beautiful parks, hills and monuments which attract tourists from far and wide. So, second to agriculture is the field of tourism which adds to the income of the state and its people. The government of South Dakota applies special taxes on alcohol brewing and occupation.

1. Is owning a still legal?

Its illegal to operate a still without a license to concentrate alcohol. According to section S35-1-5.4 of the South Dakota Legislature, it is legal to own a still without a license as long as it is not used. 200 gallons or less of malt or wyne beverages may be produced and consumed for home use. The alcohol regulations of the state may sentence the violators for Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanour where there are punishments of 1 year or $2000 or both for the first and 30 days or $500 or both for the latter.

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

If the apparatus being used for a scientific experiment in a school for alcohol distillation is one gallon or less and essential oils are produced by a solvent method and alcohol is obtained as a by-product, even then the school officials have to get special permit from the South Dakota alcohol regulation department. This is because alcohol distillation can become risky pertaining to the speed with which alcohol can catch fire.

3. What kind of permit do I need to distil ethanol in South Dakota?

A special permit is needed to produce denatured distilled spirits. The South Dakota legislature states that Federal, State and local taxes are applicable after an individual is allowed to distil ethanol for alcohol or fuel production at a still not placed at his or her dwellings. Moreover, the apparatus being used for ethanol distillation also needs to be inspected by the state authorities.

4. Is it legal to distil essential oils and water?

It is not legal to distil essential oils and water by steam or water extraction methods at personal stills. However, if essential oils and water need to be distilled, then a permit is required according to sections SDCL 35-2-3 and SDCL 35-2-5 of the South Dakota legislature.

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!

southdakota“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 – South Dakota Department of Revenue, Alcohol Licenses