| The making of illegal or moonshine whiskey has a long history in West Virginia and elsewhere. The word entered the English language about 1785 when white brandy was smuggled on the southeast England coast of Kent and Sussex. Those who made or transported the beverage worked under moonlight to escape the law.
Moonshine is typically 100-proof whiskey, aged little or none, and was an important cash crop. So long as revenue agents did not cause trouble, making moonshine was an efficient and profitable way to market corn. With a good still, one-and-a-half bushels of corn was reduced to a gallon of whiskey, which was worth more than the grain itself and less bulky to transport.
Some used it to buy property, and a good copper still and the condensing coil or “worm” had considerable value themselves. On March 3, 1791, soon after the colonies became a nation, Congress imposed the first taxes on stills and whiskey. Such laws caused the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion, an uprising in western Pennsylvania and parts of present West Virginia.
West Virginia prohibition took effect in 1914. Then, from 1920 until 1933 the U.S. government enforced nationwide prohibition, causing a dramatic increase in moon shining. Even when national prohibition ended, parts of the South remained dry. In any case, some imbibers remained partial to clear mountain whiskey, and illegal distilling continued.
After 1950, as local prohibition laws were voted out and economic conditions improved, the demand for illegal whiskey fell and production of moonshine declined. Mountaineers traditionally used corn in making moonshine. The first step was to sprout the corn, then crush the sprouted grain and mix with water.
This mixture, called mash, was fermented in open barrels. If moonshiners had yeast and used it, the fermentation took up to four days; if they didn’t have yeast and if the weather was cool, fermentation took longer, maybe two weeks. When fermentation was complete, the mildly alcoholic liquid, now called beer, was ready to distill or ‘‘run off.” The beer was heated in the still’s pot or copper kettle to the temperature, well below boiling, when alcoholic vapors rise from the liquid.
These vapors were condensed back to liquid in the worm, a coil of copper tubing which passes through a cooling water bath. Each batch was typically run off two or more times to get the maximum whiskey from the fixings. Illegal whiskey is still made and readily available to those who know where to look for it.
Homemade corn liquor is just about a thing of the past, however, since sugar is now usually substituted for most of the grain. A number of licensed distilleries in West Virginia now make legal whiskey branded as “moonshine.” This Article was written by Mark F.
Can you make moonshine legally in West Virginia?
What is the Penalty For Selling Moonshine in West Virginia ? – Producing moonshine without a license in West Virginia is considered a misdemeanor and the person may be subject to a fine and/or jail time. : Is It Illegal To Make Moonshine In West Virginia ?
Is home distilling legal in WV?
1/1/2015 last updated
It is legal to own a still in West Virginia as long as you do not use it to distill moonshine. West Virginia does require a license to manufacture your own fuel, or to manufacture your own essential oils, etc. WV Code § 60-6-10 (2015) A person who unlawfully owns, operates, or maintains a plant for the manufacture of distilled spirits, or aids or abets in the operation or maintenance of such a plant shall be guilty of a felony, and upon conviction shall be fined not less than one hundred nor more than one thousand dollars or confined in the penitentiary not less than one nor more than five years.
Residents can manufacture their own alcohol fuel for personal use if they apply for a $5.00 license. West Virginia does offer licenses to run a distillery or micro distillery. There are several licenses you need to request to legally manufacture spirits.
WV Code § 60-6-10 (2015) A person who unlawfully owns, operates, or maintains a plant for the manufacture of distilled spirits, or aids or abets in the operation or maintenance of such a plant shall be guilty of a felony, and upon conviction shall be fined not less than one hundred nor more than one thousand dollars or confined in the penitentiary not less than one nor more than five years.
Current federal laws allow citizens the right to own a still and operate it for non-alcohol production. This means legally you can:
Is it illegal to own a moonshine still in Virginia?
State Overview state laws Virginia specifically states it is illegal to own a still regardless of its use.5. Any person to keep, store or possess any still or distilling apparatus.
Does West Virginia sell moonshine?
3. Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine Distillery – Looking for moonshine in southern West Virginia? You can find the Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine Distillery in Gilbert. This drink of the devil 90-proof moonshine is handmade, bottled, and labeled on site. If you are interested in the moonshine making process, this distillery also offers behind-the-scenes tours!
How much is a distilling license in WV?
The license fee for a distillery license is $1,500.00, a mini-distillery license fee is $50.00, a micro-distillery license fee is $750 and a licensed representative (or broker) license fee is $100 per distillery, mini-distillery, micro-distillery or manufacturer for the license period and may not be pro-rated.
Can I distill my own whiskey in Virginia?
In order to legally distill spirits in the Commonwealth of Virginia, prospective distillers must obtain a Beverage Distilled Spirits Plant permit from the Alcohol and Tobacco and Trade Bureau (TTB) and a distillery license from Virginia ABC. The production of spirits cannot begin until both documents have been issued.
A Virginia ABC distillery license allows for the manufacture of distilled spirits and the sale of the manufactured spirits to Virginia ABC, the government or any entity outside the Commonwealth of Virginia legally authorized to receive the product. Virginia ABC is the wholesale distributor and sole retailer for all distilled spirits sold in Virginia.
A distillery licensee may be appointed as an independently operated agent of Virginia ABC for the purpose of selling distilled spirits manufactured by or for, or blended by such licensee on the licensed premises at ABC stores established on the distiller’s premises.
Can you buy grain alcohol in West Virginia?
West Virginia bans 190-proof booze
West Virginia banned the sale of 190-proof grain alcohol earlier this month.”At 95 percent West Virginia banned the sale of 190-proof grain alcohol earlier this month.”At 95 percent alcohol, it packs too much punch,” said Gary Robinson, a representative from the Education and Public Information Department of the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration.Pennsylvania had already banned the sale of 190-proof grain alcohol.Robinson said that the ban took effect because of concerns expressed by a college coalition with which he worked.He said that the feedback he received from the coalition, administrators, campus security and health officials all pointed to the need for the product to be removed from retail shelves.
The administration is responsible for distributing alcohol to the 159 retail stores throughout the state, according to a press release issued by West Virginia. As a result of the ban, all of the 190-proof grain alcohol has been removed from the department’s warehouse.
The warehouse will still continue to stock a less potent 151-proof grain alcohol. Steven Schmidt, the director of alcohol education for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, said that the Keystone State enacted a similar ban on 190-proof grain alcohol in 1999. At that time, grain alcohol was placed on a list of products that can only be purchased with a permit from the Department of Licensing of the PLCB.
Schmidt said grain alcohol is often used as a solvent or for industrial purposes. Like Robinson, Schmidt also worked closely with colleges. He has spent approximately the last eight years working with colleges and college communities. He said that during that time he kept hearing that grain alcohol was a fairly popular drink, and people often drank it in such a way that it lead to sexual violence and crime, most frequently when it involved young women.
It was obviously being bought by a young public.” Schmidt said that the reason grain alcohol was removed from the market was because there are significant risks associated with it. Grain alcohol is cheap, odorless and tasteless. This means that when people consume it, they may not know how much they are actually drinking.
“If we all work together, like Pennsylvania and West Virginia, it is going to be harder to access it. You cannot buy it right down the street.” Ohio and Virginia have already banned 190-proof grain alcohol, but Maryland still sells it. There are also Web sites that sell grain alcohol, though some restrict shipping to Pennsylvania, and Schmidt said that it is illegal to purchase and have shipped to you any wine or spirits that they have listed as for sale by permit only.
Does Virginia sell moonshine?
The days of illegal moonshine are long gone. Or are they? A visit to Franklin County is a visit to “the moonshine capital of the world” and “the wettest county in the world.” Nowadays distilling spirits is legal in Virginia, but that requires licensing and tax payments.
Franklin County Distilleries Twin Creeks Distillery Blue Ridge Institute & Museum Franklin County Historical Society
Can you drink in the car in West Virginia?
§17C-5D-3. Possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in the passenger area of a motor vehicle; exceptions; penalties. – (a) It is unlawful for the operator or a passenger of a motor vehicle to consume any alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of a motor vehicle located on a public highway or right-of-way of a public highway in this state, whether the vehicle is in motion or at rest.
(b) It is unlawful for the operator or a passenger of a motor vehicle to knowingly possess any open alcoholic beverage container in the passenger area of any motor vehicle that is located on a public highway or right-of-way of a public highway in this state, whether the vehicle is in motion or at rest.
Possession by a person of one or more open containers in a single criminal occurrence is a single offense. (c) The provisions of this section are not applicable to a passenger: (1) In the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation including, but not limited to, a bus, taxicab or limousine; or (2) In the living quarters of a motorized or nonmotorized house coach, house trailer, motor home or self-contained camper.
It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.
What are the liquor laws in West Virginia?
Days and hours – Retail sale of beer and wine is prohibited daily between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Retail sale of liquor is prohibited on Easter Sunday and Christmas Day, and between 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m each day. Private clubs must close by 3:30 a.m.
Can you distill your own alcohol in the US?
Home Distilling While individuals of legal drinking age may produce wine or beer at home for personal or family use, Federal law strictly prohibits individuals from producing distilled spirits at home (see 26 United States Code (U.S.C.) 5042(a)(2) and 5053(e)).
Within title 26 of the United States Code, section 5601 sets out criminal penalties for activities including the following. Offenses under this section are felonies that are punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, for each offense.
Under 26 U.S.C.5602, engaging in business as a distiller with intent to defraud the United States of tax is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Under 26 U.S.C.5604(a)(1), transporting, possessing, buying, selling, or transferring any distilled spirit unless the container bears the closure required by 26 U.S.C.5301(d) (i.e., a closure that must be broken in order to open the container) is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, for each offense.
Under 26 U.S.C.5613, all distilled spirits not closed, marked, and branded as required by law and the TTB regulations shall be forfeited to the United States. In addition, 26 U.S.C.5615(1) provides that unregistered stills and/or distilling apparatus also will be forfeited. Under 26 U.S.C.5615(3), whenever any person carries on the business of a distiller without having given the required bond or with the intent to defraud the United States of tax on distilled spirits, the personal property of that person located in the distillery, and that person’s interest in the tract of land on which the still is located, shall be forfeited to the United States.
Under 26 U.S.C.5686, possessing liquor or property intended to be used in violation of the law is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. Such liquor and property is also subject to the seizure and forfeiture provisions in 26 U.S.C.5688.
In addition, any property (including aircraft, vehicles, and vessels) used to transport or used as a container for such property or materials may be seized and shall be forfeited to the United States. Further, 26 U.S.C.7302 adds that it is unlawful to possess any property intended for use, or which has been used, in violation of the internal revenue laws; no property rights shall exist in any such property.
Can food trucks sell alcohol in WV?
Liquor License in West Virginia In most states, food trucks cannot obtain a full liquor license. The best they can do is to get short-term liquor licenses for special events, but selling alcohol regularly should not be part of your West Virginia food truck business plan.
Is it illegal to make moonshine in us?
Moonshine has been having something of a renaissance. The colloquial term for clear, non-barrel-aged whiskey — and occasionally other home-distilled spirits — has sparked curiosity in a younger generation of drinkers, prompting books on DIY booze- making, and fancy whiskey brands touting “moonshine” in their name.
government and is very much illegal, Although you might see ” moonshine ” sitting on your local liquor store shelves, it’s not exactly the most accurate moniker for a bottled brand. Clear whiskey in the style of moonshine might be for sale, but technically speaking, moonshine is moonshine because it’s produced illicitly.
Some moonshiners in the Cumberland Gap. NPS
Can you make wine in West Virginia?
Discussion. West Virginia presently has no statute or exception recognizing the home production of beer. Such an exception exists for the home production of wine. Nonintoxicating beer in West Virginia is not considered an alcoholic liquor.
Is West Virginia a control state for alcohol?
The privileges, duties and responsibilities for the manufacture, sale or distribution of liquor in West Virginia is detailed in Legislative Rule CSR 175 Series 1, 2, 5 and 6 and authorized by West Virginia Code §60, West Virginia is a control state and utilizes the bailment system of supply for liquor distribution.
Alcoholic liquor, as defined by West Virginia statutes, means alcohol, beer, fortified wine and distilled spirits, and any liquid or solid capable of being used as a beverage. The term alcoholic liquor does not include wine with an alcohol content of fourteen percent (14%) or less by volume, nonintoxicating beer or nonintoxicating beverages.