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

on Jun 6, 2014

The Following Questions Will Be Answered In This Article:

South Carolina Moonshine Laws

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

  • If not legal:
  • Yes.  South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-4100 provides that ”It is unlawful for a person in this State to manufacture, sell, give, or have in his possession a distillery, commonly called a still, or any integral part of a distillery, or an apparatus, appliance, device, or substitute therefor to be used for the purpose of manufacturing alcoholic liquors, in violation of the laws of this State.  The unexplained possession of any part of a still, apparatus or appliance, or any device or substitute therefor, commonly or generally used for or that is suitable to be used in the manufacture of prohibited alcoholic liquors is prima facie evidence of the violation of this section”.  This statute provides that that unexplained possession of a still is ‘prima facie’ evidence, which means that it can be rebutted with evidence that the still is being used to produce something other than alcohol.  If that evidence can be presented then the still 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.  South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-4010 provides that “(A) It is unlawful for a person to: (1) manufacture, store, keep, receive, have in possession, transport, ship, buy, sell, barter, exchange, or deliver alcoholic liquors, except liquors acquired in a lawful manner and except in accordance with the provisions of this title; or (2) accept, receive, or have in possession alcoholic liquors for unlawful use pursuant to the provisions of this title”.

If not legal:

  • What is charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc.)   Misdemeanor
  • What is maximum fine?  First offense: Not less than $600;Second Offense: $1,500; Third and subsequent offenses:  $3,000. In addition there is a penalty of $20 per container of illegal alcohol.
  • What is maximum jail time?  First offense: six months imprisonment; Second Offense: one year imprisonment; Third and subsequent offenses:  two years imprisonment.
  • What is maximum fine?  First offense: Not less than $600; Second Offense: $1,500; Third and subsequent offenses:  $3,000.  In addition there is a penalty of $20 per container of illegal alcohol.
  • What is maximum jail time?  First offense: six months imprisonment; Second Offense: one year imprisonment; Third and subsequent offenses:  two years imprisonment.
  • Can property be seized?  Yes, the alcohol can be seized pursuant to South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-2610 among other statutes. South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-4030 and 4300 provides that vehicles, vessels and aircraft used in transporting illegal liquor can be seized.
  • Can still be seized?  Yes.  There is no specific statute that actually lists the still and related equipment as being subject to seizure, however there is the general statute indicating that any property that is illegal to possess is subject to seizure.  See South Carolina Statute Section 17-13-40
  • Can additional property be seized?  Yes, the alcohol can be seized pursuant to South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-2610 among other statutes. South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-4030 and 4300 provides that vehicles, vessels and aircraft used in transporting illegal liquor can be seized.


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

  • What is charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc.)  Misdemeanor


Is a commercial distillery permit available? 

  • South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-1120 provides that “         (A) The department may issue a micro distillery license to a person to operate one micro distillery in the State subject to the requirements of this chapter and payment of a biennial micro distillery license fee of five thousand dollars.  (B) A micro distillery is not required to obtain an additional manufacturing and retail liquor license required pursuant to this title”.  The limits of production and sale for a Micro-Distillery is very small.
  • A full Manufacturers License is authorized in South Carolina Statute Section 61-6-1110, which provides that “The department may issue a manufacturer’s license to a person to manufacture alcoholic liquors in the State subject to the requirements of this chapter and a payment of a biennial manufacturer license fee of fifty thousand dollars.
  • Cost of commercial distillery permit?   Manufacturer’s License is 50,000 biennial fee plus a $200 filing fee. It is also required to have a $10,000 bond.
  • The Micro-distillery License is $5,000 biennial fee plus a $200 filing fee. It is also required to have a $10,000 bond.
  • Location of commercial distillery permit application online?  See the Application at:     http://www.sctax.org/NR/rdonlyres/B93176B1-1690-4E6A-8CCD-98BAB41FA7D4/0/ABL902Pack_03062014.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.    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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