Is Making Moonshine Illegal In Florida (Explained)

So, you live in Florida and want to get your hands busy and make moonshine? Or maybe you’re just curious about the legalities surrounding the manufacturing of moonshine?

It’s illegal to distill moonshine or any other spirits in the state of Florida at both a state level and a federal level. It’s also illegal to own a still or repair one. You can be subject to a fine of up to $500 or 60 days imprisonment

This article gives an explanation of the moonshine producing, selling, and buying laws so that you can make an informed decision when you want to make your own. 

What Is Moonshine and Why Is It Called Moonshine?

Moonshine is any type of spirit made illegally.

The name comes from the fact that moonshiners (people who produce moonshine) worked at night when no one would see them doing their work and catch them making moonshine.

Is Making Moonshine Illegal In Florida ( And Why)

Making moonshine is illegal and dangerous because it’s made without proper safety precautions. Making moonshine can result in serious injuries or death if there is an explosion or fire while making it. Moonshiners are also notorious for adding methanol to the drink, which can cause blindness or death to the consumers.

In addition to moonshine being a health hazard, manufacturing has been linked to tax fraud because it’s difficult for the state to collect taxes on the product since the producers don’t file returns.

State Laws

When it comes to distilling (illegal) alcohol such as moonshine, here’s what state law has to say:

  • It’s illegal to own or repair a still (and any part of a still). 
  • You shouldn’t own any ingredients used to manufacture liquor unless you have a license.
  • If you’re found in possession of a still, repairing a still, or any ingredients used to make alcohol, the state will confiscate the goods.
  • You’re not allowed to discard or sell material used to make moonshine unless you have a license.
  • Any type of transportation you use to transport or hide alcohol or distilling equipment will be forfeited as stipulated by the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.

Federal Laws

According to federal law, you can own a still if you produce non-alcoholic products. So, you can:

  • Own, manufacture and sell a still.
  • Distill water.
  • Manufacture essential oils.
  • Produce ethanol fuel (if you have a license).

Alcohol Excise Taxes

The table below breaks down the alcohol excise taxes. According to the Sales Tax Handbook of Florida, all prices include federal alcohol excise taxes.

Beverage Tax Rate Additional Tax
Beer $2.25 per gallon ( 4.5 liters) Over 17.259% = $3.00 per gallon (4.5 liters)Sparkling wine =$3.5 per gallon (4.5 liters)
Wine $0.48 per gallon (4.5 liters)
Spirits $6.50 per gallon (4.5 liters) Under 17.259% = $2.25 per gallon (4.5 liters)Over 55.780% = $9.53 per gallon (4.5 liters)

What’s The Penalty For Distilling In Florida

According to section 775.082 of the Florida statute, if you’re found manufacturing or in possession of moonshine you will: 

  • Face up to 60 days imprisonment.
  • Be fined $500.

Is Buying Moonshine Illegal In Florida?

Buying moonshine is illegal in Florida. When you’re found buying moonshine, you will:

  • Be fined $500.
  • Face imprisonment for 60 days.

Is Selling Moonshine Illegal In Florida?

Selling moonshine is illegal in Florida. You are only allowed to sell moonshine (or liquor) if you have a permit.

The Penalties

The state forfeits any ingredients and equipment used to make moonshine. You will also be fined $500 or be imprisoned for 60 days.

Is It Illegal To Own A Still In Florida?

It’s illegal to own a still in Florida unless it is authorized by the state. Also, you can’t own or repair a still (or any part of a still no matter how small the part).

Is Homebrewing Beer And Wine Illegal In Florida?

Homebrewing beer and wine are not illegal in Florida if you brew them for personal use. It’s also legal to transport your homebrew as long as the amount of liquor you manufacture is between 100-200 gallons (379-757 liters) per year.

How To Get A Distillery Permit In Florida?

If (and when) you want a distillery permit, you can apply for one from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. There are several federal licenses you need to apply for as well. These include a basic permit (spirits production license), a federal license (ethanol fuel production license), and a distilled license. All the application forms and guidelines are available on the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) website.

Conclusion

Making moonshine with a license and permit is illegal in Florida. If you’re yearning to set up a distillery, but want to stay out of trouble, it’s best to consult the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau so that you have all the paperwork in order.

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