Tax Revenue – An important thing to understand is that the government makes money on alcohol sales of all kinds, and the higher the alcohol content, the higher they tax it. So, if people make homemade moonshine, whether they are selling it or keeping it for themselves, the government misses out on the money they could have made on the alcohol.
- The government taxes alcohol based on how high the alcohol percentage is, so moonshine is one of the highest-taxed alcohols.
- A gallon of 100 proof (50% alcohol) moonshine is taxed at $13.50 per gallon (3.79 liters).
- And, some moonshine is even higher proof that ends up being taxed more.
- These tax amounts are just the federal taxes that moonshine is subject to, and states often have their own taxes for alcohol too.
State tax is also higher for moonshine than beer, so states also want making moonshine at home to be illegal to get the tax revenue from production and sales. On the other hand, beer is taxed significantly lower. Depending on where the beer was made and what kind of beer it is, it is taxed at only $0.11 to $0.58 per gallon (3.79 liters).
Is moonshine a type of beer?
Moonshine is high-proof liquor, generally whiskey, traditionally made, or at least distributed, illegally.
Why can’t you make your own alcohol?
Making liquor may sound fun, but it can be deadly if not done properly. There are no regulations on homemade stills, and some folks would form them given whatever material they could solder together. Without proper equipment, your moonshine can lead to lead poisoning.
How does moonshine compared to beer?
9: Alcohol Content – While homemade beer or wine tops at about 5 to 15 percent alcohol by volume, moonshine can reach more than 80 percent alcohol by volume, That’s an enormous kick. Regardless of what you’re brewing, you determine the alcohol level with a hydrometer,
- This gadget gauges alcohol content through a series of readings taken during production.
- It measures the difference in density between pure water and water heavy with yeast converting sugar to alcohol.
- It’s most often used in homebrewing but can be used to monitor distillation, too,
- However, experienced moonshiners may simply give a jar of moonshine the shake test, gauging the density by the size of the bubbles and how fast they pop.
The larger the bubbles and the faster they pop, the higher the alcohol content,
Why can’t you make 100% alcohol?
Why is It Not Possible to Produce 100% Pure Ethanol by Distillation? – Ethanol and water form an azeotrope (96% ethanol, 4% water ), the boiling point of which is below the boiling point of pure ethanol (78.15°C/172.67°F at 1 bar (760mm) and 95.6% alcoholic content (weight)).
Why can’t you have 100% alcohol?
Is there a 200 proof alcohol? – Pure alcohol, also known as ethanol, is extremely volatile and dissipates even more easily than water. While it is possible to buy 200 proof alcohol, it isn’t sold for consumption. Ethanol has an affinity for water and, when exposed to air, will draw out any moisture from the atmosphere and suck it up.
This makes it impossible to pour yourself a glass of 200 proof alcohol because even if it was 200 proof when you began pouring it, it would no longer be 200 proof by the time you brought the glass to your lips. Makers of liquor have found that the trick to distilling alcohol is to heat a mixture of ethanol and water to the point where only the alcohol boils, then collect the ethanol steam.
Because ethanol is an azeotrope, its vapor forms a certain proportion instead of boiling purely. Due to the moisture in the air that ethanol draws in, steam from ethanol is only 96 percent ethanol, making that the highest concentration of alcohol that can be distilled in liquor.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon Whiskey (136 proof) Stroh Rum (160 proof) Sunset Very Strong Rum (169 proof) Balkan 176 Vodka (176 proof) Hapsburg Gold Label Premium Reserve Absinthe (179 proof) River Antoine Royale Grenadian Rum (180 proof) Everclear (190 proof) Golden Grain (190 proof) Spirytus (192 proof)
Why is it not possible to drink 100% alcohol?
Absolute ethanol – Absolute or anhydrous alcohol generally refers to purified ethanol, containing no more than one percent water, It is not possible to obtain absolute alcohol by simple fractional distillation, because a mixture containing around 95.6% alcohol and 4.4% water becomes a constant boiling mixture (an azeotropic mixture).
- In one common industrial method to obtain 100% pure alcohol, a small quantity of benzene is added to rectified spirit and the mixture is then distilled.
- Absolute alcohol is obtained in third fraction that distills over at 78.2 °C (351.3 K).
- Because a small amount of the benzene used remains in the solution, absolute alcohol produced by this method is not suitable for consumption as benzene is carcinogenic.
There is also an absolute alcohol production process by desiccation using glycerol. Alcohol produced by this method is known as spectroscopic alcohol – so called because the absence of benzene makes it suitable as a solvent in spectroscopy. Currently, the most popular method of purification past 95.6% purity is desiccation using adsorbents such as starch or zeolites.
Is moonshine illegal in the USA?
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.
- 5601(a)(1) – Possession of an unregistered still.
- 5601(a)(2) – Engaging in business as a distiller without filing an application and receiving notice of registration.
- 5601(a)(6) – Distilling on a prohibited premises. (Under 26 U.S.C.5178(a)(1)(B), a distilled spirits plant may not be located in a residence or in sheds, yards, or enclosures connected to a residence.)
- 5601(a)(7) – Unlawful production or use of material fit for production of distilled spirits.
- 5601(a)(8) – Unlawful production of distilled spirits.
- 5601(a)(11) – Purchase, receipt, and/or processing of distilled spirits when the person who does so knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that Federal excise tax has not been paid on the spirits.
- 5601(a)(12) – Removal or concealment of distilled spirits on which tax has not been paid.
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.
Under 26 U.S.C.7201, any person who willfully attempts to evade or defeat any Internal Revenue Code tax (including the tax on distilled spirits) has committed a felony and shall be fined up to $100,000, imprisoned for up to 5 years, or both, plus the cost of prosecution. Under 26 U.S.C.7301, any property subject to tax, or raw materials and/or equipment for the production of such property, in the possession of any person for the purpose of being sold or removed in violation of the internal revenue laws may be seized and shall be forfeited to the United States.
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.