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Home Distilling Laws: Is It Illegal To Make Moonshine in Michigan?

on Jun 6, 2014

The Following Questions Will Be Answered In This Article:

Michigan Moonshine Laws

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

If not legal:

  • There is no specific prohibition against possessing a still.  The statutes are directed at alcohol production without a license.  A still that is not shown to be producing alcohol is not illegal.
  • 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?   N/A
  • Can additional property be seized?  N/A


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

  • No.  Michigan Liquor Control Code (MLCC) 436-1901 Section 901(1).

If not legal:

  • What is charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc.)  MLCC 436.1909 Section 909(3) provides that “A person who performs any act for which a license is required under this act without first obtaining that license or who sells alcoholic liquor in a county that has prohibited the sale of alcoholic liquor under section 1107 is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or by a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both”.
  • What is maximum fine?  See above.
  • What is maximum jail time?  See above.
  • Can still be seized?  Yes, the alcohol and containers and all related implements used to violate the law.
  • Can additional property be seized?  Other property does not appear to be at risk.


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

The same license requirements, statutes and penalties apply to possession as to distilling.  See above.

  • What is charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc.)  See above.
  • What is maximum fine?  See above.
  • What is maximum jail time?  See above.
  • Can property be seized?  See above.


Is a commercial distillery permit available? 

  • Yes.  Michigan Liquor Control Code 436-1801 Section 801(1)(a).  It is however, subject to County Option and can be prohibited in some counties.  There is also a Small Distiller’s License for less than 60,000 gallons annually, MLCC 436-1534 Section 534(1).
  • Cost of commercial distillery permit?  $1,000, Michigan Department of License and Regulatory Affairs.  (Plus a bond).  Small Distiller $100.
  • Location of commercial distillery permit application online?  At the Michigan Department of License and Regulatory Affairs website at

https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-35299_10570_14177—,00.html


Is a fuel alcohol permit available? Yes.  It’s called a Refiner’s License and the Refiner will be issued as a Terminal Operator.

  • Cost of fuel alcohol permit? $2,000
  • Location of fuel alcohol permit application online? The application is called a Motor Fuel Tax License Application and its issued by the Michigan department of Treasury.  See it at:   http://www.michigan.gov/documents/3712f_2941_7.pdf

 

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