On the transportation of moonshine.

What do you eat and drink on the playa? Share ideas, recipes and advice here.

On the transportation of moonshine.

Postby SeussWithMoose » Mon May 31, 2010 11:56 am

A few of us out here in Portland were toying with the idea of putting together a little bar and stocking it with our own home distilled goodness. Sounds grand, but then you start looking at all the details like getting the stuff there, and you realize you have no clue what you're doing.

So, my first question is what is the legal fun around bringing large amounts of liquor into Nevada (or any of the states along the way for that matter)? We'd be talking about 40 to 50 gallons of the rot. Our route would wander from Oregon down through Cali and into the great state of Nevada. How would carrying moonshine effect all this?

What's the legal mess of handing out non-store boughts on the playa? It's obviously done, but are there any major cover-your-ass maneuvers that are required? Beyond the obvious, like don't get the 14 year olds all liquored up.
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Postby Ranger Genius » Mon May 31, 2010 1:20 pm

Damn good question. I have no idea.
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Re: On the transportation of moonshine.

Postby bm_cricket » Mon May 31, 2010 1:26 pm

SeussWithMoose wrote:A few of us out here in Portland were toying with the idea of putting together a little bar and stocking it with our own home distilled goodness. Sounds grand, but then you start looking at all the details like getting the stuff there, and you realize you have no clue what you're doing.

So, my first question is what is the legal fun around bringing large amounts of liquor into Nevada (or any of the states along the way for that matter)? We'd be talking about 40 to 50 gallons of the rot. Our route would wander from Oregon down through Cali and into the great state of Nevada. How would carrying moonshine effect all this?

What's the legal mess of handing out non-store boughts on the playa? It's obviously done, but are there any major cover-your-ass maneuvers that are required? Beyond the obvious, like don't get the 14 year olds all liquored up.



Two things:
Legally, I know nothing about moon-shine.
Morally, I strongly recommend making beer instead of liquor. It's really, really easy to make liquor that kills, it's nearly impossible to make beer that kills. (well, it can kill my buzz if it tastes like socks but it's not going to make me go blind!)
)'(
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Postby SeussWithMoose » Mon May 31, 2010 2:31 pm

The safety of the spirits aren't a concern. I spent about a year distilling rum, and for this I was thinking of moving up to whiskey. The taste and smell of methanol isn't subtle. It's pretty hard to accidentally mix back in enough of the foreshots to cause health issues, and it's even harder to get people to drink it if you do. Taking a sip of methanol jumps straight past the drunk and right to the hang over. Most of the old moonshining kills stories come from hillbillies doing things like mixing in gasoline to get more product.

This is going to be a tasting bar for fine, homemade whiskey.
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Postby diamondmoth » Mon May 31, 2010 2:44 pm

wow that sounds like an awesome idea. I remember the camp that brought there own beer and it was amazing. The beer was good, and I was really digging the vibe. You could tell they really just loved making good beer and giving it to nice people. ...but I love trying new beers so I'm biased.

This sounds silly but I would never call it moonshine! As far as the internet tells me, "Moonshine is any distilled alcoholic spirit made illegally" I'm sure your friends wont care but it might perk up the ears of some one trying to hassle you ( cops and what not )

I don't know much about it so I did some research.

Here are some interesting links:

http://homedistiller.org/
these guys have a interesting forum and a page for legalizing home distilling. Your scenario might be special because you are not trying to sell it but you are transporting it.

http://homedistiller.org/legal.htm
If you scroll down to the "Americans" section they quote the Alcohol and Tobacco tax and trade bureau and it doesn't look good. Even owning a sill to distill your goods could be illegal.

http://www.ttb.gov/
Here is the Alcohol and Tabacco Tax and Trade Burea's site.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/p ... s/statutes
This website briefly highlights some of the legal issues for home brewers so might be some good info.


Honestly this looks like a touchy subject. Seems to be that it's illegal for any one to make their own distilled alcohol, maybe they don't really police it, but transporting it would raise the risk for you.

I hope you come up with a way to do it though! I can think of a few but then that might be giving you advice on how to break the law and that's just uncouth :)
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Postby EspressoDude » Mon May 31, 2010 2:50 pm

edited(to remove names) news story:

"undercover detectives served a search warrant at xxx and seized a working moonshine still.

The detectives were assisted by an agent from the Florida Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).

Upon arrival at the residence, detectives and the ATF agent observed a fully operational moonshine still, including seven jars of moonshine. Attached are photos of the still and moonshine.

Both suspects who live at the residence, y & z , admitted to using the still to make moonshine for their own use and to sell to their friends and co-workers."
Detectives dismantled the still and collected it as evidence, along with the seven jars of moonshine. Both suspects were placed under arrest and charged with one count each of Possession of a Still or Still Apparatus (F-3), Possession of Moonshine (F-3), and Conspiracy to Violate Beverage Law (F-3). Both men have bonded out of jail.

"Every now and then, we run across an illegal moonshine still-it gives us a glimpse of what law enforcement must have been like back in the day," said Sheriff Grady Judd.


and another article

"Two Georgia men pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges of operating a moonshine still in the Chattahoochee National Forest. One of the bootleggers faces up to 35 years in prison for his crimes: making the brew, selling it, and not paying taxes on the proceeds. Back in college, the Explainer had friends who brewed their own beer, and that wasn't against the law. So why is moonshine still illegal?

Because the liquor is worth more to the government than beer or wine. Uncle Sam takes an excise tax of $2.14 for each 750-milliliter bottle of 80-proof spirits, compared with 21 cents for a bottle of wine (of 14 percent alcohol or less) and 5 cents for a can of beer. No one knows exactly how much money changes hands in the moonshine trade, but it's certainly enough for the missing taxes to make a difference: In 2000, an ATF investigation busted one Virginia store that sold enough raw materials to moonshiners to make 1.4 million gallons of liquor, worth an estimated $19.6 million in lost government revenue. In 2005, almost $5 billion of federal excise taxes on alcohol came from legally produced spirits.



......discovered the wonders of peat. Daniel Gross documented the great American beer crisis, and Field Maloney debated Wine vs. Beer. Mike Steinberger asked why wine writers talk that way.Until 1978, it was illegal to home-brew liquour or beer—and the rules on wine-making were somewhat ambiguous.* But a growing number of oenophiles and beer connoisseurs wanted to make their own, and they helped pressure Congress to decriminalize home-brews across the country. Today, federal rules say a household with two adults can brew up to 200 gallons of wine and the same amount of beer each year. (A few states have their own laws prohibiting the practice.) The 1978 law didn't legalize moonshining, though; you still can't brew spirits for private consumption. It is kosher, however, to own a still and process alcohol—but only if you're using the alcohol as fuel and you have a permit from the ATF. (In some states, you can purchase a legal version of moonshine from commercial distillers.)

Despite the Appalachian stereotypes, not everyone swigs moonshine just for fast, cheap intoxication. Some folks are accustomed to the taste of unaged whiskey, and they prefer the buzz that comes with it. These days, moonshine is even going upscale, as a new breed of amateur distillers in California, New England, and the Northwest are taking an artisanal approach to the hobby.

Government prosecutors point out that moonshine poses serious health risks, including heavy-metal toxicity. So, how dangerous is it? There's no inspection of the manufacturing process, so quality—and levels of contamination—vary. (There are some informal and imprecise ways to test the purity of hooch: You can light some on fire and check for a blue flame or shake the pint and look for clear liquid drops that dissipate quickly.) Aside from drinking too much and doing something dumb—oh, like attacking somebody with a chain saw and fire extinguisher— the biggest risk is lead poisoning, since a homemade still might consist of car radiators or pipes that were dangerously soldered together. One study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine in September 2003 found that more than half of moonshine drinkers have enough lead in their bloodstream to exceed what the CDC calls a "level of concern."


TAXES, TAXES, TAXES

Get a permit and use it for fuel.. otherwise federal felony and who knows what state issues....
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Postby SeussWithMoose » Mon May 31, 2010 2:54 pm

Let me run some math. There's no methanol created during the distilling process. You're only concentrating what's already there. FDA considers 0.1% methanol by volume safe in wine.* Wikipedia tells me that 10 mL can cause blindness. That means to we need 10 liters of wine to get enough methanol to cause blindness. If our wine starts out at 10% ABV and we bum that to 50% when we distill. Our 10 liters wine is now 2 liters of liquor (grappa?), I believe. So, assuming we don't remove any of the methanol and discounting the fact that ethanol itself is an antidote for methanol poisoning, you would have to drink 2 liters of 100 proof liquor to blind yourself.

I'm much more worried about your run of the mill ethanol poisoning then I am methanol.










*Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. 34l(a)(2)(C) and 348.
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Postby Bling » Mon May 31, 2010 4:06 pm

This is a little off topic, but when I read the thread header, I thought it said, "for the transportation of moonLIGHT." And how cool would THAT be? :D
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Postby Playa Foot » Mon May 31, 2010 6:15 pm

The Booze Police cruise Black Rock City looking for underaged drinkers. I hate to think about what would happen to someone serving underaged whiskey.
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Postby bm_cricket » Mon May 31, 2010 6:24 pm

Well, I can attest to drinking a modest amount of delicious home-made liquor on the playa. I've never made it but I do understand the reasons.

Just bring a little to share with close friends (small amount) and keep it under the radar. Bring the store-bought stuff to share with the "public".
)'(
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Postby sputnik » Mon May 31, 2010 6:26 pm

I stopped in at the moonshine tavern on the playa one morning in 08. I have no idea if what they were serving was home-made, but it's quite possible. If you do bring your own, don't bring your still.
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Postby SeussWithMoose » Mon May 31, 2010 8:40 pm

I saw in another post that some, but by no means all, of Moonshine Tavern's stock was homemade. This is also Nevada, which doesn't require a license for home distilling. There's still federal law, I believe. It's probably a similar to game to medical marijuana. One set of laws says it's on the up and up, and the other isn't so happy with it. There's also a (slight) chance I'll end up in Washington instead of fair Oregon. Washington gives you the first 200 gallons for personal use before they send the cops in. So, the preparation would be safe.

I'm mostly curious about the legality of crossing state boarders with gallons and gallons of alcohol. Even if it's taxed, is that legal? Not all the bars out there are buying in Nevada, are they?
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Postby gyre » Mon May 31, 2010 10:07 pm

You are allowed to make a certain amount of corn whiskey for personal use.
I don't think you can sell it.

There is a quantity limit per year.

They regularly bust stills around here still.
Sizes tend to be very large, hundreds or thousands of gallons.

Check the laws.

Corn whiskey and state's rights are taken seriously around here.
We had at least two minor wars over whiskey taxes.

Here's a classic- The Hills of Connemara (alcohol might be involved)
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kErejttFT4[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1GRxNV1Cjw[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkzLaGMvgjU[/youtube]
From Praha, a drinking song
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcOKVFgPEC0[/youtube]
a traditional closing song
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbrzZWLu6Qw[/youtube]
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Postby Bob » Mon May 31, 2010 10:41 pm

Might start by asking the Nevada state health division, after you get an okay from the Burning Man theme camp people.
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Postby madmatt » Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:47 pm

It's illegal.
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Postby SeussWithMoose » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:52 pm

[quote="madmatt"]It's illegal.[/quote]

What is illegal? And which set of laws? State or federal?

Nevada doesn't require a license to distill (I'm assuming this is for personal/not selling liquor), but I don't know how that interacts with federal law.

Is it legal to bring large quantities of liquor (as I'm assuming most of the bars are doing) across state lines, if it's not intended for resell. Is this different for taxed drink vs. homemade?

If I set up my still in Washington (I have a friend up there I might convince to house it), they allow production for personal use. Pretty much the same as beer and wine. So, I'd be legally producing by state laws, moving it to another state that allows production, and then not selling it. Is that legal?
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Postby SeussWithMoose » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:32 pm

My bad. I misread a website. Washington is still illegal to distill. It's Missouri that allows for personal use. And Nevada doesn't seem to require a permit. I believe everything out on the playa would be legal, which is my main concern.
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:04 am

...you play your cards, and take your chances...

(there are no guarantees in anything, especially if it has to do with Burningman)

and this is not the best source for legal advice...

(my take is the tax stamp is all they really care about - just collect empty whiskey bottles and refill if you are worried)
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Postby AntiM » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:43 am

SeussWithMoose wrote:My bad. I misread a website. Washington is still illegal to distill. It's Missouri that allows for personal use. And Nevada doesn't seem to require a permit. I believe everything out on the playa would be legal, which is my main concern.


Legal on the playa .... not a good assumption to make. Nevada and federal laws still hold, just depends on what they're cracking down on that particular year and whatever else might lead to a bust of any kind.

Don't draw attention to your bar, be doubly sure you're not serving minors.
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:37 pm

The Moonshine Tavern operated on the Playa for a good many years serving up their own home brewed moonshine. They had shine made from corn mash and sorgum (sp?) mash, both highly potent. I think the leader of that camp was named Dan, or BitterDan, and he used to be fairly active on ePlaya until a year ago or so. His brain would be a good one to pick through.
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Postby SeussWithMoose » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:26 pm

Thank you. I will find this sage man and bask in his tutelage.
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Postby gyre » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:28 pm

Sorghum mash?

I'll have to look into that.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:01 pm

Teo del Fuego wrote:I think the leader of that camp was named Dan, or BitterDan, and he used to be fairly active on ePlaya until a year ago or so. His brain [s]would be a good one to pick through[/s] got thoroughly pickled though.


Content corrected.
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Postby bm_cricket » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:27 am

dragonfly Jafe wrote:(my take is the tax stamp is all they really care about - just collect empty whiskey bottles and refill if you are worried)


Actually, believe it or not this may be awful legal advice. Refilling beer bottles and keeping the old labels (in many places) is against the law. They should either be blank or have the label of the real brewer. That's the law in California, I don't know about other places. And for liquor bottles I believe the restrictions are even more strict. It may help keep you under the radar of the ATF but I wouldn't be flaunting the moonshine if I were you.

Bring it, drink it, share it, but anything that's of questionable legality should either be signed off by a knowledgeable legal council or be done where you won't attract any attention by the LEOs.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:57 am

The first thing you don't do is post about it on the World Wide Web.
Please to visit PAGE TWO.
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Postby Fire_Moose » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:47 am

It's already on my Facebook though...
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:23 am

I think BM-Cricket, from his posts on this topic and other topics, is unusually risk-averse for a Burner. I'm sure that he's technically and legally correct in his responses, but if everyone followed his advice, there would be a lot less interesting things on the playa.

To the original poster, I think my advice is the best: contact BitterDan, who for at least 5 years in a row, ran a fairly prominent camp called the Moonshine Tavern that gave away high-powered moonshine.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:46 am

Oh there is no end of worthwhile illegal and risky things out there, on and off the playa.
There are also traps for the unwary. ;)
Please to visit PAGE TWO.
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Postby gyre » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:08 am

Since criminal law makes no fucking sense whatsoever, it seems sensible to know what the laws are before ignoring them.
Many are quite arcane.

I don't know much about liquor laws, but it does seem like disguising bottles with tax stamps could be misinterpreted pretty easily.

And if the Doc had just gone for serious fireworks, he could have convinced them he was part of the show.
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Postby Zhust » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:20 am

I figure legal or not, nothing really matters when you're faced with a cop.

I drive the speed limit and as perfectly as I can. That means that if I do get pulled over, it'll be by a prick. At that point, there's nothing I can do. Once he finds out I'm going to Burning Man, it's an instant reason-to-search. Which means getting detained, and all my stuff dumped out and ruined.

At the end of the day, what doing that is unconstitutional and illegal but that doesn't matter much.

As such, I try to eliminate all involvement with law enforcement because they are not there to help me.

Another way to look at it is that you could bring a meth lab under a blanket in the back seat and as long as you don't get stopped, you're home free. But if you get stopped, the meth lab is irrelevant because you're going to Burning Man which -- to a cop -- basically means you must be doing something illegal. Actually illegal or actually legal makes no difference.

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