Friday, September 3, 2010

Put the Sunshine into Moonshine

Did you know it's illegal to distill liquor in your home? Did you know if you did distill liquor in your home you could be a resident of jail for up to 5 years? I must admit that I did not, I've never given it any thought. The video below is a must watch on the subject.

It's been over 30 years since Jimmy Carter brought homebrewing into the realm of legal activities. Since then the United States went from a moribund beer culture into the most creative, diverse and greatest beer producer in the world. Imagine 30 years from now, if Obama somehow legalized home distilling, what kind of whiskeys, vodkas and rums you could go to a store and buy.

It amazes me that home distilling is illegal. As someone says in the video, the obligation on us isn't to find a reason for "moonshine" to be legal, it's up to the government to give us the reasons it's illegal. I can't think of a single reason moonshine should be illegal. I don't think anybody's going blind from 'shine but even if they were it would be such a small number that it wouldn't make sense to make the entire enterprise illegal. Think about how many people get food poisoning from undercooked meat each year. You wouldn't think about making cooking meat at home illegal.

This whole thing is just silly. Legalize it, nothing will happen other than people might enjoy some wonderful new liquor concoctions.


  1. Also, bartenders who are becoming increasingly adventurous are prohibited from anything resembling "distilling" even if they are just making bitters or something. And as you say, I can't imagine it's more dangerous than consuming prepared food.

  2. I tried moonshine back in the old country and it was some of the strongest harsh tasting thing I've ever tried. However, in the country of Georgia they make it out of grapes and it tastes and smells delicious.

  3. DLC, I almost wrote a post about the bitters thing a couple of months ago. Reason.TV (the ones who did the video in this post) did a video about the bitters thing too. You can watch it here.

  4. I don’t know much about the process of distilling, or anything for that matter, but isn't there some sort of explosion hazard?

  5. about the same risk as from a pressure cooker

  6. I would like to see home distilling be legal in the us.

    That said, the craft spirits market seems extremely robust to me, despite no home distilling.

    I could probably drink for 5 years drinking only craft spirits available in KS and MO today without ever repeating a bottle. I should drink those things before I ask for more.

    Also this isn't some hillbilly US American thing. New Zealand is the only English speaking country to allow home distillation. This is a tall hill to climb.