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At a federal level it is illegal to distill alcohol without a permit.  In some states (like Missouri) home distilling small quantities is legal.  

 

Missouri Statute Definition of intoxicating liquor.

311.020. The term "intoxicating liquor" as used in this chapter shall mean and include alcohol for beverage purposes, alcoholic, spirituous, vinous, fermented, malt, or other liquors, or combination of liquors, a part of which is spirituous, vinous, or fermented, and all preparations or mixtures for beverage purposes, containing in excess of one-half of one percent by volume. All beverages having an alcoholic content of less than one-half of one percent by volume shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter, but subject to inspection as provided by sections 196.365 to 196.445*.

311.050. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, partnership or corporation to manufacture, sell or expose for sale in this state intoxicating liquor, as defined in section 311.020, in any quantity, without taking out a license. 

311.055. 1. No person at least twenty-one years of age shall be required to obtain a license to manufacture intoxicating liquor, as defined in section 311.020, for personal or family use. The aggregate amount of intoxicating liquor manufactured per household shall not exceed two hundred gallons per calendar year if there are two or more persons over the age of twenty-one years in such household, or one hundred gallons per calendar year if there is only one person over the age of twenty-one years in such household. Any intoxicating liquor manufactured under this section shall not be sold or offered for sale.   [Because Section 311.055 is directed toward a specific circumstance, it should be controlling and should be considered an exception to Section 311.050.]

 

 

Taken From Home Distillers.Org

Missouri Moonshine Laws

Is it legal to own a non-alcohol producing still (for water purification, etc.)?

  • Yes.  Since it is legal to use a still for limited home consumption, it clearly is not illegal to possess a still.  To be subject to prosecution the still would have to be involved in alcohol production in excess of the home consumption limitations and without a state issued permit.


Is it legal to distill alcohol without possession of a commercial distiller’s permit or a fuel alcohol permit? 

  • Yes, limited right for home use only.  Missouri Statute 311.055 provides that, “No person at least twenty-one years of age shall be required to obtain a license to manufacture intoxicating liquor, as defined in section 311.020, for personal or family use. The aggregate amount of intoxicating liquor manufactured per household shall not exceed two hundred gallons per calendar year if there are two or more persons over the age of twenty-one years in such household, or one hundred gallons per calendar year if there is only one person over the age of twenty-one years in such household. Any intoxicating liquor manufactured under this section may not be offered for sale”. 
  • This section is in conflict with Section 311.050, which says, “It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, partnership or corporation to manufacture, sell or expose for sale in this state intoxicating liquor, as defined in Section 311.020, in any quantity, without taking out a license”. 
  • Because Section 311.055 is directed toward a specific circumstance, it should be controlling and should be considered an exception to Section 311.050.

What is the penalty for possessing / and or selling illegally produced spirits without a permit?

  • What is charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc.)  Missouri Statute Section 311.868 provides that penalties for violations of the statutes relating to manufacturing and distilling liquor shall be governed only by that Section.  It mandates fines and not imprisonment, but it does not indicate whether it is a felony or misdemeanor.  Most misdemeanors do not, however, have fines this large, so these violations may be considered to be felonies.
  • What is maximum fine?  First offense, ten thousand dollars; Second offense, twenty-five thousand dollars; and for the Third and subsequent offenses, fifty thousand dollars.
  • What is maximum jail time?  None
  • Can property be seized?  Yes.  All illegally manufactured liquor , stills and related equipment, mash, etc.  Missouri Statute Section 311.810.2.

 

 

Proposed Changes to the Federal Laws

 

S.1562 - Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2015 (not yet passed)

 

“(16) HOME DISTILLERY ESTABLISHMENT.— 

“(A) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘home distillery establishment’ means an establishment that—

“(i) is located in the dwelling house of the owner of such establishment or in any shed, yard, enclosure, or other property connected with such dwelling house, and 

“(ii) produces distilled spirits solely for personal or family use by the owner of such establishment. 

“(B) PERSONAL OR FAMILY USE.—

“(i) IN GENERAL.—A home distillery establishment shall be treated as producing distilled spirits for personal or family use if—

“(I) any stills or distilling apparatuses contained in such establishment have a mash capacity of not greater than 15.5 gallons,

“(II) such establishment produces no more than—

“(aa) in the case of a household with 1 adult, 24 proof gallons of distilled spirits during the calendar year, or

“(bb) in the case of a household with 2 or more adults, 48 proof gallons of distilled spirits during the calendar year, and

“(III) no distilled spirits produced by such establishment are sold to any person, or transferred to any person (for payment or otherwise) for sale by such person.

“(ii) ADULT.—For purposes of this paragraph, the term ‘adult’ means an individual who has attained 18 years of age, or the minimum age (if any) established by law applicable in the locality in which the household is situated at which distilled spirits may be sold to individuals, whichever is greater.”.

(c) Exemption From Establishment Requirements.—Section 5171 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended—

(1) in subsection (a), by striking “Except as otherwise provided by law” and inserting “Except as provided by subsection (e) or any other provision of law”, and

(2) by redesignating subsection (e) as subsection (f), and by inserting after subsection (d) the following new subsection:


“(e) Exception For Home Distillery Establishment.—The requirements of this section shall not apply in the case of a home distillery establishment (as described in section 5002(a)(16)).”.

(d) Criminal Penalties.—Paragraph (6) of section 5601(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by inserting “or section 5171(e)” after “5178(a)(1)(C)”.

(e) Limitation On Sales For Personal Or Family Use.—Section 5101 of such Code is amended—

(1) by redesignating subsection (b) as subsection (c), and

(2) by inserting after subsection (a) the following new subsection:


“(b) Limitation On Sales For Home Distillery Establishments.—The Secretary shall, pursuant to regulations, require that no still, boiler, or other vessel with a mash capacity of greater than 15.5 gallons be sold or transferred to any person who intends to use such still, boiler, or vessel solely as part of a home distillery establishment (as described in section 5002(a)(16)).”.

(f) Effective Date.—The amendments made by this section shall take effect on the date that is 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

 



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