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Home Distilling Laws: Is It Legal To Make Moonshine In Arkansas?

on Nov 18, 2014

The following questions will be answered in this article:

Arkansas Moonshine Laws

Is it legal to own a non-alcohol producing still (for water purification, etc.)? No. Arkansas Code Section 3-3-402(a)(1) (2012), provides that “ It shall be unlawful for any person, including any corporation or legal entity: (1) To own, possess, or knowingly transport any illicit still, still worm, or any apparatus or any substantial part of any illicit still designed for the unlawful manufacture of spirituous, vinous, or malt liquor; …”. As usual, we have the same argument that has appeared in other State’s laws regarding whether it is necessary to show that the still was actually intended to be used for alcohol distillation to be prohibited. However, Arkansas courts have broadly construed this statute to include a still, or worm or apparatus as being illicit under any circumstances (see Philyaw vs. State, 305 S. W. 2d 851), so it would appear that any still, worm or apparatus that is designed for the manufacture of spirits is illegal, even if it is not producing alcohol and apparently, even if no intent to produce anything illegal can be shown.

  • What is charge? Class D Felony
  • What is maximum fine? Up to $10,000 (Arkansas Code Sections 5-4-401 and 5-4-201)
  • What is maximum jail time? Up to six years imprisonment (Arkansas Code Sections 5-4-401 and 5-4-201)
  • Can still be seized? Yes, and upon conviction, the still and other apparatus is destroyed. Arkansas Code Section 3-3-404 provides that “(a) The court, upon conviction of any defendant for illegal manufacture or sale or gift of intoxicating alcoholic liquors, shall order the destruction of any illicit stills or apparatus designed for the manufacture of intoxicating liquor belonging to or under the control of the defendant; (b) The court may order the copper or other property sold.”
  • Can additional property be seized? Yes. Arkansas Code Section 4-3-403 (a) provides that “ All vehicles or vessels used in the transportation or storage of any illicitly distilled spirituous, vinous, or malt liquor or any illicit still, still worm, or other apparatus designed for the unlawful manufacture of spirituous, vinous, or malt liquor shall be seized and forfeited and shall be sold by the Director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division at public auction or to state agencies desiring to purchase the vehicles or vessels.”

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

  • No. Arkansas Code Section 3-3-402(a)(2) (2012), provides that “ It shall be unlawful for any person, including any corporation or legal entity: … (2) To manufacture or engage in the manufacture of spirituous, vinous, or malt liquor in the State of Arkansas without obtaining a license to do so from the State of Arkansas and the United States; …”
  • If not legal: What is charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc.) Class D Felony
  • What is maximum fine? Up to $10,000 (Arkansas Code Sections 5-4-401 and 5-4-201)
  • What is maximum jail time? Up to six years imprisonment (Arkansas Code Sections 5-4-401 and 5-4-201)
  • Can still be seized? Yes. See above.
  • 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 charge? Class D Felony
  • What is maximum fine? Up to 10,000 (Arkansas Code Sections 5-4-401 and 5-4-201)
  • What is maximum jail time? Up to six years imprisonment (Arkansas Code Sections 5-4-401 and 5-4-201)
  • Can property be seized? Yes. (Vehicles and vessels) See above.

Laws regarding distillation of spirits for consumption with commercial distillers permit

Is commercial distillery permit available?Yes. Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Rules, Title 1, Subtitle C, Article 1, Section 1.19(14) provides that the categories of permits under which controlled beverages may be sold and the controlled beverages which may be sold, pursuant to those permits, are as follows: “…(4) Liquor Manufacturer Permit authorizes the manufacture of and the sale of spirituous, vinous and malt liquor beverages, under the following circumstances: (1) Sell, deliver, or transport to wholesalers; (2) Sell, deliver, or transport to rectifiers; (3) Export out of the state; and (4) Sell for off premises consumption spirituous liquors the distiller or manufacture manufacturers on any day of the week. (Amended 8-16-11)”. Cost of commercial distillery permit? $2,000 Arkansas Code Section 3-4-208(i), plus a bond and county taxes; Location of commercial distillery permit application online? The Application is not available online and must be obtained from the Arkansas Beverage Control Board at 1515 W 7th St #503, Little Rock, AR 72201.

Laws regarding distillation of fuel alcohol

Is a fuel alcohol permit available? As always, this is the hardest question to research because every state treats fuel alcohol differently and each has different agencies handling the subject. In Arkansas, as in several other states, there is nothing online, and, in addition to the online Statutes, I worked my way through seven agencies’ online material (count them: Agriculture Department; Natural Resources Department; Alcoholic Beverage Control Board; Department of Environmental Quality; Alternative Energy Commission; Department of Finance & Administration and the Motor Fuel Tax Department). I also called several of the agencies to confirm what I had come to believe: that there are tax incentives for the use of ethanol and there are requirements for tax collection and payment when selling ethanol, but there is no specific permit for the actual production of ethanol. Anything to do with the manufacture or production of any type of alcohol comes under the ABC Board and they don’t have a specific license for it. Therefore it appears that to be involved in the production of ethanol and to avoid violations of the unlawful manufacture of alcohol (Arkansas Code Section 3-3-402(a)(1) and (2), you should become a motor fuels supplier and obtain a motor fuel supplier’s license prior to commencing production. That should explain the possession of a still and equipment and should then remove it from that statute. Cost of fuel alcohol permit? N/A Location of fuel alcohol permit application online? N/A

Arkansas Motor Fuel Downloads

Arkansas Motor Fuel Tax Application

Arkansas Motor Fuel Tax Bond

Ethanol Produced For Individual Use Report Form

 

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