Wisconsin Moonshine Laws

The state of Wisconsin is a strict state considering moonshine a severe crime. Even though there is a lake called “Moonshine”, Wisconsin is a place for people who can live without alcohol. Alcohol issues and law restrictions on alcohol date back to the time Wisconsin became a state. The Yankees were the reason behind the term “alcoholism” in that state back then and the government passed a law in 1849 restricting the usage of alcohol. 10 years later the state prohibited the usage of alcohol on Sundays. In 1872 a new law was passed – it was even stricter this time. The Graham Law did not allow drunkenness and the sale of alcohol to children and minors and everyone who wished to sell alcohol needed to pay the state the amount of $2000 bond. German-Americans battled this law legally, and though they lost, they still managed to elect the legislature softer to consumption of alcohol. The less restrictive law was passed in 1874, the bond was lowered to $500, and drinking on Sunday was allowed. Then the period of Prohibition came, which lasted for 13 years from 1920 until 1933. A referendum, however, was made allowing the manufacture of bier, and in 1929 Wisconsin abolished its law enforcing Prohibition.

  1. Is owning a still legal?

No, it is not legal. The state of Wisconsin is well known for the severity of the punishments concerning law infringement with distilling rules and the traditions of the society there have also proven that distilling process has always been special and unable for home producers.

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

An official so called “student permit” is not mentioned directly in the state law of Wisconsin regarding students and alcohol distilling assignments. However, a so called “picnic” permit is allowed by the law which permits the usage of alcohol in organizations for specific events. It is a temporary solution and there are several steps towards obtaining it. Application form is filled in at least 15 days beforehand (meaning before the event). The participants must be mainly adults and at least 18 of age. The application form must be submitted to the officials of the municipality and then allowance is awaited before the event can begin. Wisconsin Statute 2014, chapter 125.06 (02) states that alcohol beverages can be used in medical and scientific purposes but the state law does not mention school assignments nor school experiments in the special permits section.

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

Neither license nor permit is required for the home production of wyne (which contains ethanol) as long as the consumption is only and solely domestic and the produce is not sold to anyone. The easiest permit type that one can obtain in case they need or want to produce ethanol for selling purposes is called “Manufacturer”. It is only issued to companies distilling ethanol with the aim of alcohol distribution and sell. To obtain the form Distilled Spirits/Wine Permit Application (AB-123) from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, download the instructions from the Department’s website.

Higher classes of permits include “Wine Direct Shipper”, “WI Winery”, “WI Liquor Wholesale/ Importer”, but the state law allows only stable companies to distill ethanol.

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

Wisconsin Homemade Moonshine Still ConstructionYes, it is legal. However, you need to have specific qualification proven with documents and certificates in order to be able lawfully to use such substances. If people under 14 years of age intend to sell or distill essential oils it must be done with adult supervision and the latter must have qualification for the process. Under Wisconsin Statues, 1923, Chapter 146, Article 2: 23 any person who attempts usage of essential oils whatsoever must have a permit and must have a direct connection and link with medical education, terminology and experience.

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.dor.state.wi.us/businesses/liquor.html – Department of Revenue, Wisconsin Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement