New York Moonshine Laws

The moonshine laws in New York are a bit stricter than in many other states of America. Brewing of alcoholic beverages is not permitted by the state liquor authorities for personal or family use. However, the state authorities allow licensed micro-distillers to sell their products at retail stores and farmer’s markets. Cherries and apples are two major agricultural produce in the New York state. They are used extensively for moonshine production for alcoholic beverages at micro and commercial distilleries.

  1. Is owning a still legal?

It is legal to own a still in New York. However, the legality of owning a still depends upon the way you use it. Using a still for alcohol distillation is not permitted. If it is being used for water distillation, then owning a still is legal and the owner does not have to apply for a Federal permit. Moreover, the still should be one gallon or less in capacity if you want to own it with or without a permit. Distilling alcohol as moonshine for consumption is only permissible if the owner has a Class A-1 Distillers License.

So, yes you can own a still if you are using it for water distillation or not using it all without a permit.

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

In the rules defined in Section 99 (f) of the ABC Law of the New York State Liquor Authority, it is said that an individual under 18 years of age can file for a permit as an entertainer with the consent of his or her or parents or other authorities allowed by the parents. For this there has to be an application filed stating that the child will perform as an entertainer in making or selling alcoholic beverages or both under adult supervision. The permit can be issued for one or more days depending on the requirement of the event. So, if there is a school science project which involves alcohol distillation and sale or both for an event, the child can obtain an entertainer’s license.

On the other hand, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau states that to carry out alcohol distillation for a school science project, the school authorities need to inform the New York State Liquor Authority and ask for permission. The school authorities need to provide information about the project duration and location to the state officials as well.

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

According to the Section 91(a) of the ABC Law of the New York State Liquor Authority you can apply for an Industrial Alcohol Manufacturer – Fuel only Permit to distill ethanol. By acquiring this license, you can produce your own alcoholic beverages and sell them as well. Moreover, you can produce motor, heating or process fuels by ethanol distillation. However, you need to inform the state liquor authorities about the produce you want to manufacture at your still. Through this license you can manufacture one hundred thousand gallons of fuel. The license fees start at $250 and can vary for the type of permit you apply for.

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

New York Moonshine Still ConstructionIt is legal to distill water at a personal still without permit.

However, for distilling essential oils by certain distilling methods, you need to file for a permit first. For instance, cedar oils are the major essential oils produced in the state of New York. There are many kinds of cedar oils which are produced by different distillation processes. If you want to produce certain cedar oil by water, steam or hydro distillation, you need to first acquire a permit from the state liquor authorities. Distillation process of any kind for producing any essential oils is illegal without a permit.

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 – New York State Liquor Authority – Online permit information and applications – Entertainer’s permit information