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

on Jun 6, 2014

The Following Questions Will Be Answered In This Article:

Minnesota Moonshine Laws

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

  • Yes, but it is a question of evidence and the surrounding facts.  2013 Minnesota Statute Section 340A.705 provides that “The finding of an unauthorized still is prima facie evidence of possession for the purpose of unlawful manufacture of alcoholic beverages”.  Therefore, if substantial evidence could be shown that the still was designed and used only for water purification, or some other non-alcohol purpose, it’s possible that prosecution could be avoided.
  • Can still be seized? Yes.  2013 Minnesota Statutes Section340A.904(1) provides that “Contingent on the final determination of any action pending in a court, the commissioner shall dispose of alcoholic beverages, material, apparatus, or vehicle seized by inspectors or employees of the department by: (1) delivering alcoholic beverages to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension or State Patrol for use in chemical testing programs; (2) delivering on written requests of the commissioner of administration any material, apparatus, or vehicle for use by a state department; (3) selling intoxicating liquor to licensed retailers within the state; (4) selling any material, apparatus, or vehicle; (5) destroying alcoholic beverages or contraband articles that have no lawful use; or (6) donation to a charity registered under section 309.52”.
  • What is charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc.)  2013 Minnesota Statute Section 340A.701(1) provides that “It is a felony:  (1) to manufacture alcoholic beverages in violation of this chapter”.  However Section 340A.702(3) provides that “It is a gross misdemeanor: …. (3) to violate the provisions of sections 340A.301 to 340A.312” (which refers to manufacturing or selling illegally produced liquor).  Therefore, these two statutes are conflicting.
  • What is charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc.)  2013 Minnesota Statute Section 340A.701(1) provides that “It is a felony:  (1) to manufacture alcoholic beverages in violation of this chapter”.  However Section 340A.702(3) provides that “It is a gross misdemeanor: …. (3) to violate the provisions of sections 340A.301 to 340A.312” (which refers to manufacturing or selling illegally produced liquor).  Therefore, these two statutes are conflicting.

If not legal:

  • What is charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc.)  2013 Minnesota Statute Section 340A.701(1) provides that “It is a felony:  (1) to manufacture alcoholic beverages in violation of this chapter”.  However Section 340A.702(3) provides that “It is a gross misdemeanor: …. (3) to violate the provisions of sections 340A.301 to 340A.312” (which refers to manufacturing or selling illegally produced liquor).  Therefore, these two statutes are conflicting.
  • What is maximum fine?  $10,000
  • What is maximum jail time?  12 months imprisonment
  • Can additional property be seized?  Yes.  See above.


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

  • No.  2013 Minnesota Statute Section340A.301(1) provides that “No person may directly or indirectly manufacture or sell at wholesale intoxicating liquor, or 3.2 percent malt liquor without obtaining an appropriate license from the commissioner, except where otherwise provided in this chapter”.

If not legal:

  • What is maximum fine?  $10,000
  • What is maximum jail time?  12 months imprisonment
  • Can still be seized? Yes.  2013 Minnesota Statutes Section340A.904(1) provides that “Contingent on the final determination of any action pending in a court, the commissioner shall dispose of alcoholic beverages, material, apparatus, or vehicle seized by inspectors or employees of the department by: (1) delivering alcoholic beverages to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension or State Patrol for use in chemical testing programs; (2) delivering on written requests of the commissioner of administration any material, apparatus, or vehicle for use by a state department; (3) selling intoxicating liquor to licensed retailers within the state; (4) selling any material, apparatus, or vehicle; (5) destroying alcoholic beverages or contraband articles that have no lawful use; or (6) donation to a charity registered under section 309.52”.
  • Can additional property be seized?  Yes.  See above.


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

  • What is maximum fine?  $10,000
  • What is maximum jail time?  12 months imprisonment
  • Can property be seized?  Yes.  2013 Minnesota Statutes Section340A.904(1) provides that “Contingent on the final determination of any action pending in a court, the commissioner shall dispose of alcoholic beverages, material, apparatus, or vehicle seized by inspectors or employees of the department by: (1) delivering alcoholic beverages to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension or State Patrol for use in chemical testing programs; (2) delivering on written requests of the commissioner of administration any material, apparatus, or vehicle for use by a state department; (3) selling intoxicating liquor to licensed retailers within the state; (4) selling any material, apparatus, or vehicle; (5) destroying alcoholic beverages or contraband articles that have no lawful use; or (6) donation to a charity registered under section 309.52”.


Is a commercial distillery permit available? 

  • Yes.  2013 Minnesota Statute Section340A.301(1) provides that “No person may directly or indirectly manufacture or sell at wholesale intoxicating liquor, or 3.2 percent malt liquor without obtaining an appropriate license from the commissioner, except where otherwise provided in this chapter. A manufacturer’s license includes the right to import”.
  • There is also a statute allowing Micro-Distilleries Licenses.   2013 Minnesota Statute Section340A.301(6)(c)(a) provides that “(a) A microdistillery may provide on its premises samples of distilled spirits manufactured on its premises, in an amount not to exceed 15 milliliters per variety per person. No more than 45 milliliters may be sampled under this paragraph by any person on any day”.
  • Cost of commercial distillery permit?   Manufacturer’s License:  $30,000 annual fee plus bond in the amount of $10,000.
  • Microdistillery License:  20,000 to 40,000 gallons/year-  $2,000 annual fee plus $150 filing fee plus bond in the amount of $3,000.
  • Microdistillery License:  Less than 20,000 gallons/year-  $1,000 annual fee plus $100 filing fee plus bond in the amount of $2,000.
  • Location of commercial distillery permit application online?  Distillery License Application can be found at: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/age/forms-documents/AlcoholDocuments/applicationwholesalemanufacturerintoxicatingliquor.pdf
  • Microdistillery License Application can be found at:  https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/age/forms-documents/AlcoholDocuments/MicroDistillerApplication.pdf


Is a fuel alcohol permit available? No.  Ethanol and alternative fuel production is allowed and encouraged, but no specific License or Permit is required.  Permits that may be required, depending on the location, size and circumstances, include water discharge, wastewater and air quality.   The Department of Agriculture does not have a Permit to issue, but will assist in getting the other permits necessary.   There are, however, various proposals being discussed in the alternative fuel area that could result in some type of specific production License of Permit being required at any time.

  • Cost of fuel alcohol permit? N/A
  • Location of fuel alcohol permit application online? N/A

 

 

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