It is legal to own a still in the state of Michigan and the still can be used for non-ethanol production such as distilling wine, essential oils, etc.
Based off the wording of the laws it does seem like it is illegal to produce moonshine for personal or to transport it. Everything I have read specifically says it is illegal to produce spirits for sale, or to run a business manufacturing spirits without a license.
(b) It shall be unlawful, except pursuant to a basic permit issued under this subchapter by the Secretary of the Treasury—
- (1) to engage in the business of distilling distilled spirits, producing wine, rectifying or blending distilled spirits or wine, or bottling, or warehousing and bottling, distilled spirits; or
- (2) for any person so engaged to sell, offer or deliver for sale, contract to sell, or ship, in interstate or foreign commerce, directly or indirectly or through an affiliate, distilled spirits or wine so distilled, produced, rectified, blended, or bottled, or warehoused and bottled.
Michigan does have allow state residents to manufacture their own wine, beer, cider, etc. for personal or private use.
- The manufacture of cider from fruit for the purpose of making vinegar and non-intoxicating cider and fruit juice for use and sale, and cider and fruit juice when used or sold, or both, within 30 days after manufacture.
- Beer, wine, mead, honey-based beer, or cider of any alcoholic content made on the premises by the owner or lessee of those premises provided those premises are used and occupied by that owner or lessee as a dwelling and the beer, wine, mead, honey-based beer, or cider is made for family use and home consumption.
Motor Fuel Tax License
Michigan does offer a commercial refiner’s license which allows the manufacture of ethanol for fuel and is licensed as a terminal operator.
The license costs $2,000 and is a commercial license. I am not sure if this can be used for personal use or not (you’ll have to call and see how your county works). Because it is a commercial license you will need to pay taxes on fuel you manufacture.
Michigan does offer different licenses for operating a distillery including a micro distillery license. Some counties in Michigan do not allow the sale of spirits so you will need to check with your county if you can manufacture spirits in that area. A commercial distillery license costs $1,000 and requires a bond, while a micro distillery license costs $100 and bond and allows the manufacture of up to 60,000 gallons per year.
There are several licenses you need to request to legally manufacture spirits. Below are the federal licenses only. Additional state requirements will need to be followed as well.
You must submit a request for a license to manufacture spirits: TTB 5110.41 Basic permit.
This license only allows you to produce spirits. You also need a license for the distilling equipment / distillery: TTB 5100.24 Distilled spirit plant
For manufacturing ethanol fuel you will need to submit a request for a TTB 5110.74 for a federal license.
Michigan has very strict laws on transporting moonshine and are investing major effort in fighting bootlegging and out of state transport of spirits. Transporting over 21 gallons of moonshine is a felony, while anything less carries smaller fines and is a misdemeanor.
- Except as otherwise provided in this act, a person, other than a person required to be licensed under this act, who violates this act is guilty of a misdemeanor.
- Except as otherwise provided in this act, a licensee who violates this act, or a rule or regulation promulgated under this act, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 6 months or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
- A person who performs any act for which a license is required under this act without first obtaining that license or who sells alcoholic liquor in a county that has prohibited the sale of alcoholic liquor under section 1107 is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or by a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.
- A person, whether or not a licensee, who violates section 901(4) is subject to the following penalties or sanctions:
- A person who sells, delivers, or imports spirits in violation of section 901(4) in the amount of at least 80,000 milliliters is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.
- A person who sells, delivers, or imports spirits in violation of section 901(4) in the amount of at least 8,000 milliliters but less than 80,000 milliliters is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $2,500.00, or both.
- A person who sells, delivers, or imports spirits in violation of section 901(4) in the amount of less than 8,000 milliliters is responsible for a state civil infraction and may be ordered to pay a civil fine of not more than $1,000.00.
Current federal laws allow citizens the right to own a still and operate it for non-alcohol production.
This means legally you can: