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What Does It Take To Be A Moonshiner?

Making moonshine is pretty awesome. You mix just a few ingredients together, ferment, distill, and bam, you have alcohol! We obviously understand the allure of being a moonshiner. Not only do you make a delicious, potent spirit, but also you have fun along the way, and if you’re really good, you can even make a living off it. Seems like a sweet life.

If you think the moonshine life is for you, you might be wondering if you have what it takes to become a moonshiner. We’re here to tell you that all you need to have is four very important things. Check them out below.


Every great moonshiner has passion. If you already love hooch, know all about the history, go to moonshine festivals, and have tasted just about every variation from every moonshiner out there, you’re on the right track. Sure, big liquor corporations are taking a crack at making moonshine and they certainly don’t have the passion that real small-batch distillers have, but they’re only in it for the money. And it shows. Mass-produced moonshine is dramatically subpar compared to micro-distilled hooch. And if you’re looking to become a moonshiner, you don’t want to make junk just for the money; you want to do it because you love moonshine and everything that it’s about. Being passionate is a big part of being successful in the moonshine business.

The Right Equipment and Recipes

You could build a makeshift still and use random recipes you’ve found off the internet, but you’re not going to be making quality moonshine at that point. If you’re serious about making a living off making moonshine, you’re going to need to invest in the right equipment—like a pure copper still—and create a fabulous recipe all your own. A recipe that has the best ingredients and that has been tested and refined until it’s perfect.

No one wants to buy hooch that tastes like plastic or metal because it was made in terrible equipment and no one wants to drink moonshine that isn’t made from a good recipe.

The Right Skills and Experience

This is probably the most important thing you need to become a moonshiner: skills, and eventually, experience. Although making moonshine is a lot of fun and it seems relatively easy to do, it’s actually a lot harder and more precise than it seems.

Although your fermentation process must be exact, the distillation process gets very tricky. Specific measurements and temperatures must be achieved. Alcohol content must be checked. Dangerous contaminants must be thrown out. Heads, hearts, and tails must be separated.

Sure, much of the moonshine-making process is an art, but a lot of it does come down to science—and you have to have the science right in order to make hooch that’s both delicious and safe to drink. Hooch drinkers aren’t poisoned by experienced and skilled moonshiners because they know what they’re doing—they risk their lives when they drink the products of the inexperienced amateurs. And you don’t want to be “that guy” who poisons a bunch of people with your homemade hooch.


Lastly, if you want to make and sell legal moonshine, you’re going to need to apply for a permit—which isn’t available in all areas. The distilled spirits permits are federally regulated. They’re not easy to get. The application process is complicated and strict. And they’re expensive. But if you’re serious about making a career out of moonshine, you’ll need to get this permit. There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.

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