How Much Does Moonshine Cost per Gallon to Make?

How Much Does Moonshine Cost per Gallon to Make?

With the rising costs of living, many are looking for ways to save any way they can. So, is making moonshine a good investment? How much does moonshine cost per gallon to make? Read on to find out if making your own shine can save you money. 


Making your own moonshine has roots deep within American history. Early European settlers, particularly those in grain-producing states, soon learned that fermenting their excess grain was more profitable than selling their unprocessed harvest. 

In fact, at one point whiskey was being used a currency in the United States. Of course, this all came to a crashing halt when the American Revolution caused a large debt and taxing liquor became an easy way to make back some of the money. 

So it is safe to say making spirits was profitable back in the day. But is it a sound investment now? 


How Much Does Moonshine Cost per Gallon?




The cost of moonshine per gallon can be a difficult question to answer because there are so many varieties of recipes available to make moonshine.


For example, a simple sugar shine that consists of water, yeast and sugar is going to run you far less than a complex whiskey that is made with cracked corn and malted grain. 


There are also other factors to consider, such as the cost to run your still as well as the cost of any enzymes added to the mash. 

However, it is likely that when someone is looking for the cost per gallon, they want to make a traditional cracked corn, malted barley, yeast, sugar and water recipe.

Breaking down a traditional recipe like this will give you a general idea of the cost of moonshine per gallon. 


Of course, the recipe is not the only cost of making your moonshine. You also have to consider the cost of your equipment. 


At How to Moonshine, we want to make the process of making moonshine as simple and affordable as possible.

Before We Get Started Let's Check if You Have Everything You Need: 


For the Best Equipment, Check out Our Starter Kit: 




Get All Your Moonshine Grain in one Easy Place. We Even Have Grain Kits!




Are You Ready to Upgrade to the Standard? Check out the Best Column Still Around? 




Investing in a quality still is a great way to pave the path to producing great shine, but is also a cost to consider when pricing out the total cost of your run.  



Traditional Corn Recipe Cost per Gallon




Taking a look at a traditional corn recipe we can break down the amount of ingredients per gallon using our How to Moonshine Recipe Calculator. 


Using the information provided by our calculator we can determine the cost using an average cost of goods within the United States. 


According to Macro Trends, the current cost of sugar is .20 per pound. 

We found this cracked corn for .21 per pound. 

This one pound pack of distiller’s yeast works out to about 96 teaspoons. This works out to just over 10 cents. 

This malted barley works out to 2.13 a pound. One third of a pound which is required for this recipe is 71 cents. 

With these figures in mind, the average cost per gallon of moonshine is $1.22.  Commercially priced whiskey in the US is an average of $14.84 in comparison. 

How Much Alcohol Can you Get From 5 gallons of Mash?



When asking questions like this it is important to keep in mind that your final result will vary depending on your starting alcohol and final proof. However, there are general guidelines that can be followed: 

  • A 1 gallon run will yield 3-6 cups of alcohol
  • A 5 gallon run will yield 1-2 gallons of alcohol
  • A 8 gallon run will yield 1.5-3 gallons of alcohol
  • A 10 gallon run will yield 2-4 gallons of alcohol

What is Starting Alcohol? 



Your starting alcohol is the amount of alcohol present in your mash. This is expressed as alcohol by volume or ABV. 


The higher the starting alcohol, the higher the potential yield. Your starting alcohol will be affected by the amount of fermentable sugar produced by the mash, and the type of yeast used.


You can increase your starting alcohol by choosing distiller’s yeast over bread yeast. 


Final Proof

Your final proof will also affect your final yield. Basically, if you want a higher proof of shine, you will have a smaller yield. This is because by removing any additions and getting down to pure alcohol you will getting a smaller volume of final product. 

How Much Moonshine Can you Make Personally? 




This is a loaded question that will vary depending on where you live. Some country’s laws (such as the United States) will vary from state to state. 

This is where it gets incredibly murky. While moonshining is illegal federally, some states do allow for their residents to make some shine for personal use. 

The best thing you can do is to educate yourself about the laws in your area to determine if you are able to make shine and if so, how much. 


Check out Home Distilling Laws State by State


Is Making Moonshine Profitable? 



While the home distilling laws vary by where you live, making shine to sell is not something you can do from home. 

Instead, this venture would require commercial licenses and permits, which is an entirely different sort of venture. 

Long story short, making moonshine should be a hobby unless you plan on opening a distillery.


How Much Should I Charge for Moonshine? 



Absolutely nothing. Selling moonshine is one of those areas that really attracts the attention of the authorities (if done without the proper permits). 

Instead, share your shine with friends and family who are legally old enough to consume alcohol where you live.