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Home Distilling Laws: Is It Illegal To Make Moonshine In Indiana?

on Jun 6, 2014

The following questions will be answered in this article:

Indiana Moonshine Laws

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

Yes

If not legal:  Indiana Code (IC) 7.1-5-6-1 provides that “It is a Class C misdemeanor for a person to knowingly own, have in his possession or under his control, or use a still or distilling apparatus for the manufacture of liquor, except as otherwise provided in this title”.  As in other states these statutes are aimed at still and related equipment used for the manufacture of alcohol, so it’s a question of evidence.  If it can be shown that the still is not, nor has it ever been, used for the manufacture of alcohol, the still should not be illegal.  There are statutes for the seizure of still and related equipment, so the still could be subject to seizure and the user would have to present evidence that no alcohol production was involved.

      • What is charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc.)  N/A
      • What is maximum fine?  N/A
      • What is maximum jail time?  N/A.
      • Can still be seized? Yes. See IC 7.1-2-5-1 provides that “ Sec. 1. A judge of any court may issue a warrant to search a house or other place for alcohol, an alcoholic liquid or substance, a still, a distilling apparatus, a tobacco product, or another article that is being possessed, kept, sold, bartered, given away, used, or transported in violation of this title”.  Please note that this applies to alcohol, equipment and any vehicles used for transporting it.  See  IC 7.1-2-5-5 which states that “All rights of any kind in an alcoholic beverage or a tobacco product of any type, or in a container for an alcoholic beverage, or in an article, apparatus, package, fixture or utensil in which an alcoholic beverage or a tobacco product may be placed, or which is used in connection with it, or a vehicle or conveyance in which an alcoholic beverage or a tobacco product is being transported or which is used for the transportation of an alcoholic beverage or a tobacco product, shall at all times and under all circumstances by whomsoever held, owned, or possessed, be deemed qualified by the right of the state, the commission, and the chairman, to administer, execute and enforce the provisions of this title”.
      • Can still be seized? Yes.  See IC 7.1-2-5-1 provides that “Sec. 1. A judge of any court may issue a warrant to search a house or other place for alcohol, an alcoholic liquid or substance, a still, a distilling apparatus, a tobacco product, or another article that is being possessed, kept, sold, bartered, given away, used, or transported in violation of this title”.  Please note that this applies to alcohol, equipment and any vehicles used for transporting it.  See  IC 7.1-2-5-5 which states that “All rights of any kind in an alcoholic beverage or a tobacco product of any type, or in a container for an alcoholic beverage, or in an article, apparatus, package, fixture or utensil in which an alcoholic beverage or a tobacco product may be placed, or which is used in connection with it, or a vehicle or conveyance in which an alcoholic beverage or a tobacco product is being transported or which is used for the transportation of an alcoholic beverage or a tobacco product, shall at all times and under all circumstances by whomsoever held, owned, or possessed, be deemed qualified by the right of the state, the commission, and the chairman, to administer, execute and enforce the provisions of this title”.
      • Can additional property be seized?  Yes.  See above.  Vehicles used in the transporting of illegal alcohol may be seized, as well.
      • Can additional property be seized?  Yes. See above.  Vehicles used in the transporting of illegal alcohol may be seized, as well.

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

  • No.  IC 7.1-5-1-1 provides that “It is unlawful for a person to manufacture for sale, bottle, sell, barter, import, transport, deliver, furnish, or possess, alcohol or alcoholic beverages, malt, malt syrup, malt extract, liquid malt or wort, for commercial purposes except as authorized in this title”.  Also see IC 7.1-5-6-1 which provides that “It is a Class C misdemeanor for a person to knowingly own, have in his possession or under his control, or use a still or distilling apparatus for the manufacture of liquor, except as otherwise provided in this title”.

If not legal:

  • What is charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc.)  Misdemeanor
  • What is maximum fine?  $500
  • What is maximum jail time?  60 days


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

  • Indiana Code Section 7.1-5-4-1 provides that “It is a Class C misdemeanor for a person to sell, barter, give away, or possess, an alcoholic beverage, knowing that all taxes due the state on it are not paid”.
  • What is charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc.)  Misdemeanor
  • What is maximum fine?  $500
  • What is maximum jail time?  60 days
  • Can property be seized?  Yes. IC 7.1-2-5-1 provides that “ Sec. 1. A judge of any court may issue a warrant to search a house or other place for alcohol, an alcoholic liquid or substance, a still, a distilling apparatus, a tobacco product, or another article that is being possessed, kept, sold, bartered, given away, used, or transported in violation of this title”.  Please note that this applies to alcohol, equipment and any vehicles used for transporting it.  See  IC 7.1-2-5-5 which states that “All rights of any kind in an alcoholic beverage or a tobacco product of any type, or in a container for an alcoholic beverage, or in an article, apparatus, package, fixture or utensil in which an alcoholic beverage or a tobacco product may be placed, or which is used in connection with it, or a vehicle or conveyance in which an alcoholic beverage or a tobacco product is being transported or which is used for the transportation of an alcoholic beverage or a tobacco product, shall at all times and under all circumstances by whomsoever held, owned, or possessed, be deemed qualified by the right of the state, the commission, and the chairman, to administer, execute and enforce the provisions of this title”.


Is a commercial distillery permit available? 

  • Yes.  See IC 7.1-3-7-1 regarding a full Distiller’s Permit, however there is also an Artisan’s Distiller’s Permit. See IC 7.1-3-27(2), which says, “Sec. 2. The commission may issue an artisan distiller’s permit as provided in this chapter to a person who desires to commercially manufacture liquor. Sec. 3. An artisan distiller may produce not more than ten thousand (10,000) gallons of liquor in any calendar year. Liquor produced by an artisan distiller that is sold through a wholesaler licensed under IC 7.1-3-8 may not be counted toward the gallonage limit”.  However, IC 7.3-27-5 provides that, among other requirements, unless the applicant has the necessary Federal Permit to manufacture alcohol, the applicant must have had one of three other permits (including a Distiller’s Permit) for the prior three years.
  • Cost of commercial distillery permit?  $2,000 for Distiller’s Permit and $250 for an Artisan’s Distiller’s Permit.  In addition there are other miscellaneous business licenses and fees required.
  • Location of commercial distillery permit application online?  The Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission website has all Permits and Applications for download at  http://www.in.gov/atc/2409.htm.   See the download for ‘New or Transfer Permit”.


Is a fuel alcohol permit available?  Yes.  The only license needed is a Fuel Tax License, if you are going to blend manufactured fuel alcohol with gasoline.  To manufacture the fuel alcohol on any kind of scale, you may also need various permits for water, air, discharge, hazardous waste, zoning and other permits relating to environmental impacts.

  • Cost of fuel alcohol permit? No fee for the Fuel Tax License.
  • Location of fuel alcohol permit application online? The Fuel Tax License Application (which includes, among many different licenses,  the Gasoline Blender License) is shown at:   https://forms.in.gov/download.aspx?id=2564

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