Making moonshine at home is a violation of federal law, and making homemade moonshine recipe without the proper permit is illegal. While some state laws allow alcohol distillation for personal use, it is still a federal offense in these states.
Illegally distilling moonshine is a felony. It carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Owning an unregistered still and distilling on unapproved property are separate felony offenses, and carry the same penalties. Owning a still for non-alcohol uses is legal. These uses for a still include distilling water and essential oils.
To legally distill moonshine at home, an individual must obtain a Federal Distilled Spirits Permit. This permit is intended for large-scale commercial distilleries that sell to the public, but is also required for home distillation of alcohol. This is because there is no exemption in the law for distilling alcohol for personal use. Non-distilled alcohol, such as beer and wine, is legal to make at home.
Individuals distilling alcohol for fuel purposes are eligible for a free Federal Fuel Alcohol Permit. This permit only legalizes distillation for fuel purposes; it is not legal to distill alcohol for human consumption with a free permit.