Under federal regulations, it is legal to build, own and sell stills that are capable of distillation. However, it is illegal to use stills to make moonshine without a distilled spirits plant permit, explains the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
While federal law permits citizens to build and own stills, some areas have state- or city-specific laws against still ownership. For example, in North Carolina, it is illegal to build or own a still of any size unless the still is used for fuel purposes and the owner has a state fuel alcohol permit.
Only licensed distilled spirits plants are permitted to make moonshine in stills, according to federal law. There are no exceptions for educational purposes, home brewing or brewing small quantities of moonshine.