Georgia Moonshine Laws

Georgia has a long history of moonshine dating back to the Civil War when moonshine was legal, but limited due to a lack of regulations. After the Civil War laws were passed making moonshine illegal and setting tax rates for legal liquor. The war-worn people of Georgia saw it as a way out of poverty since Georgia’s resources were severely depleted by the war.

Making moonshine under the cover of night and then selling it without paying taxes undoubtedly contributed to the people’s income but high risks associated with illegal business prevented it from spreading vastly until the prohibition era, when moonshine operations grew 1,000 gallon stills were being used in some hiding places. It is said that every other resident of Georgia was somehow involved in the moonshine business as a manufacturer, seller, consumer or even as sugar supplier.

Now that moonshine has been legalized and Nowadays, with the legalization of moonshine, much of the illegal moonshine business is dead and law enforcement agencies keep on cracking down on stills. Even famous Southerners like NASCAR legend the late Junior Johnson got into the business with his Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon based on an old family recipe. Junior learned to race hauling moonshine in the hills of North Carolina.

But that doesn’t mean an occasional still gets busted in Georgia, even here in Haralson County.

It is unlawful in Georgia to manufacture, transport, receive, possess, sell or distribute alcoholic beverages. State law also has penalties for failure to file proper reports or bonds or pay fees; and failure to declare apparatus used in unlawful manufacture of alcoholic beverages as contraband. O.C.G.A. 3-3-27 (2010)

The law states no person knowingly and intentionally shall:

  • Distill, manufacture, or make any distilled spirits, except as permitted by this title;
    • Manufacture, make, brew, or ferment any malt beverages or wine, except as permitted by this title;
    • Transport, ship, receive, possess, sell, offer to sell, distribute, or in any manner use any alcoholic beverages or alcohol, except as permitted by this title;
    • Fail to file any report required by this title;
    • File any report required by this title that is either intentionally false or fraudulent, or both;
    • Fail to pay any tax or license fee imposed or authorized by this title unless specifically exempted from such payment;
    • Fail to have a sufficient bond filed with the commissioner as required by this title; or
    • Evade or violate, or conspire to evade or violate, any provision of this title.
  • Any apparatus, article, or other tangible personal property used in the unlawful distillation, manufacture, or making of any alcoholic beverages is declared contraband and shall be destroyed by the officers or agents seizing the property or otherwise disposed of as the commissioner directs.
  • Any person who violates the provisions of: (Paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than five years; Paragraphs (2) through (8) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

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