How to Make Moonshine

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Is it legal to make moonshine?

The legal requirements of purchasing or owning a still largely depends on where you are located. It is therefore important for you to know the consequences when you buy still online. If you are fortunate enough to reside in New Zealand, you need not worry about getting fined or being put in jail.

Are stills legal in the United States?

If you do not have the necessary permit to distill or produce spirits in the United States, you are performing an illegal activity. US law requires that one pay the proper taxes when a distilled spirits plant is in operation. Similarly, there are a slew of requirements that must be met including filing a comprehensive application, the presence of proper equipment when measuring spirits, having a space that is separate from the distillation process, the presence of pipelines and tanks, and having to maintain records and file reports.

It is legal for Americans to own a still as long as the still is not used to distill alcohol. Stills can only be used for purifying water and/or extracting essential plant oils.

Are stills legal in New Zealand?

The answer to this question is “Yes!” Stills and distilling alcohol are completely legal in New Zealand. Distilling is still prohibited in certain European countries. Believe it or not, this does not stop Europeans from distilling despite the risk of being imprisoned, fined or flogged. Make sure you check the rules in your locality.

Why is distilling legal in New Zealand?

It all began during the 1980s when New Zealand’s Labour Government sold its departments to private business. At that time, public departments were transformed to state-owned companies. Government offices such as the Customs agency were managed as a business and permitted to make a profit.

When laws against liquor were changed during the 1990s,

the Customs Department of New Zealand questioned the fact that if it was a business, what was the purpose of checking licensed stills when revenues collected were solely from stills that distilled alcohol?

This question was answered with the removal of a section from the liquor law that states still ownership as illegal. The change encouraged people to sell stills for the mass market. Nonetheless, the New Zealand Customs act required a license as well as excise tax payments for those who distilled alcohol. Eventually, this changed in October 1996 when the term “spirits” was included in liquor laws, specifically the part about brewing beer. Eventually, distilling alcohol for one’s personal use was made legal and free from excise tax.

Reportedly, there were 2,000 stills in New Zealand on September 1995 all of which were able to make alcohol. A few stills were used as ornaments and decorations.

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Is distilling legal in Australia?

According to Australian law, a still that does not exceed 5L need not acquire a license to be owned or used for distilling. The law Down Under considers blending as producing alcohol. It is therefore recommended that spirits not be stored in casks or containers that exceed 5 liters.

If you need a large still, you are required to fill up a form and attach necessary documents that indicate your plans for distilling. You also need to pay insurance and a licensing fee. Officials of the Australian government are also required by law to inspect your still. You must also provide records that show specific products you have distilled.


The website is made for general information purposes only. Most of the pictures/videos are not owned by the author, they belong to their rightful owners. The author would like to stress that distilling alcohol is illegal in most countries (without the necessary license/permit).


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