Arkansas Moonshine Laws

There was never a doubt that a moonshine industry in any southern state is a money-multiplying venture. It’s not because of its distinctive strong flavor, but because moonshine and other harsh spirits hold a cultural and historical significance in rural-southern America.  While the law was a bit unclear on whether it is legal to own moonshine distillation apparatus, the locals continued manufacture and sell these hard liquors. In 2010, however, state granted licensed companies were allowed to produce moonshine under regulations.

Arkansas moonshiners settle near rivers and creeks to attain a constant supply of water. They are usually carpenters, welders, or have some sort of experience in chemistry. Their motivations also vary: some moonshine for southern pride, and to some, it’s just another hobby. Most of the moonshine prepared comes from sour mash, and numerous other native southern recipes.

  1. Is owning a still legal?

Whereas the law is a bit soft on the legality of owning a still as a display or art object – they can also be used to distill aromatic oils and water — the law is extremely explicit about making moonshine: Simply quit the idea.

Sections 3-3-402 and 403 of the Arkansas criminal code defines owning or possessing any part of a still designed for the unlawful manufacture of liquor is a Class D felony. Moreover, any vehicle used to transport the still is subject to seizure and forfeiture to the state.

  1. Is it possible to get a “student permit” to distill alcohol as part of school assignment?

According to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a special permit can be obtained from every state government for students who need to carry out alcohol distillation at their schools. The alcohol distillation assignment should be carried out under adult supervision consisting of the school staff, teachers and parents if necessary.

  1. What kind of permit do I need to distill ethanol in Arkansas?

It is legal to distill ethanol unless it is being distilled for the manufacture of fuel for personal use. Moreover, Ark. Stat. Ann. §3-5-207 states that no permit needed for the home manufacture of wyne or bier in quantities that do not to exceed 200 gallons per calendar year under §§3-4-101, 3-4-602, 3-5-206, or 3-5-211.

However, for distilling ethanol in order to produce spirituous alcohol or vinous beverages, you need to obtain a permit from the state authorities. Ethanol distillation for producing alcoholic beverages can be a very dangerous process as ethanol is highly flammable. If you do not obtain a permit for distilling ethanol for producing spirituous alcohol or vinous beverages, you can be charged of a Class D felony under the Act 3-3-402 of the state laws.

  1. Is it legal to distill essential oils and water?

Picture 2 Arkansas Moonshine Still ConstructionIt is legal to distill essential oils and water on a personal still. You do need to apply for a permit for distillation of certain oils or even for their sale on premises. However, if you distill essential oils through water or steam distillation, you end up with producing alcohol which is illegal.

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 – DFA, Alcoholic Beverage Control – Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration