Oklahoma laws allow limited home production of alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine. But as for moonshine liquor, there’s no legal wiggle room for amateur distillers — it’s against the law. Oklahoma has an active enforcement agency with authority to bust moonshiners, although it’s a rare event. If you’re intent on setting up domestic distillation, it might be wise to consider legally fermented products instead.
Federal Laws and Taxes
Basic moonshining — in Oklahoma and elsewhere — means installing equipment and keeping operations under cover, because the production of alcohol without a license violates federal and state laws. The federal government collects an excise tax of $2.14 for every 750 milliliter bottle of 80-proof spirits, and legitimate producers also pay state taxes that range as high as $12.80 per gallon in Alaska. In the interest of protecting this revenue, the federal statutes provide for a $10,000 fine and up to five years in prison for producing your own tax-free and permit-free distilled liquor.
Illegal distillation in Oklahoma is under the eye of the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission, or ABLE. If this group gets wind of your activity, you may soon be entertaining unwelcome guests with badges and firearms. However, the officers will need evidence of your intent to produce alcohol, rather than essential plant oils or some other legal substance, to charge you with a felony.
State Law Penalties
Although Internet sites and television documentaries have boosted the popularity of home distillation, moonshining is a relatively rare offense in Oklahoma, but may be on the rise. Between January and July of 2013, the ABLE Commission has taken down eight stills, more than in previous years. The penalty for a conviction on this felony in Oklahoma is a maximum $5,000 fine and up to three years in prison.
Permitted Home Brewing
Under the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, the state does permit the home production of up to 200 gallons of fermented beer, cider or wine, but without the process of distillation, such as with the use of a still. The ABLE Commission issues the required license, which does not permit sale or the offer of sale of homemade alcoholic beverages. The state also allows the use of kits that convert one form of distilled spirit into another, such as vodka into gin.
References and ResourcesThe Oklahoman: Moonshining Makes a Comeback in Oklahoma
FindLaw: Is it Illegal to Make Moonshine?
Oklahoma State Courts Network: Oklahoma Statutes Citationized, Title 37, Intoxicating Liquors