Are you ready to start shinin’ but want to take an economic approach? Check out the best places to find used stills for sale.
There are many reasons why people choose to start making moonshine. For some, it is a pastime that has been passed down from generation to generation. This makes sense, as many of the early American settlers fermented their excess grain, especially in grain-producing states.
Some newer shiners love taking on the challenge of turning simple ingredients into a delicious final product. Making moonshine is the ultimate DIY project.
For others, moonshine is a means to get quality spirits at a much cheaper price. After all, for many early shiners, running shine was a means to generate income.
Saving the high cost of commercial spirits is always a plus.
How to Make Moonshine for Less
Making moonshine is a hobby that requires an upfront investment. How much you invest really depends on the final product you want to make as well as your commitment level.
Making moonshine is not a one-size fits all hobby. Instead you are truly able to customize your experience based on many different factors such as your ingredients, tastes and of course, budget.
Making moonshine can be incredibly cheap, but also incredibly expensive. The cost of making moonshine will come down to a few key factors:
Fortunately, there are many, many moonshine recipes available for you to try with a vast variety of ingredients.
There are many simple recipes that are very cost effective for making moonshine. In fact, you can make a simple sugar shine with nothing more than sugar, yeast and water.
On the flipside, there are also many recipes that use premium ingredients, such as honey, which can be fairly expensive to make.
Of course, the biggest cost when starting out as a moonshiner is the cost of your equipment. There are many stills on the market to serve the unique needs of today’s shiners.
In general, the larger the still, the larger the price tag. Premium materials such as copper will also increase the price.
In addition to your still, you also need to consider the cost of extras, such as a fermentor, spurtle, heating element (if necessary) ect.
With all of this in mind, it makes sense that some may consider purchasing equipment second hand in order to save money.
By putting forward a smaller initial investment, some shiners may feel more inclined to try out shining to see if it is something they want to invest more money into.
What to Consider Before Choosing a Second-Hand Still
There are several different avenues you can take to find pre-owned stills in the general marketplace. Of course, just like purchasing a new still, it is important to take some important considerations into account.
When you narrow down your options to second-hand stills, you may find yourself compromising on some key aspects, such as build. While you may be able to score a deal on a pre-owned model, it may not be the type of still you actually want or need.
Pot Stills: Pot stills are a great option for shiners who want a final product rich in flavor and texture.
Column Stills: Provide a purer, cleaner final product and able to do continuous distillation
Another consideration is the material your still is made with. Many serious shiners insist on copper, whether it is the entire still or just a component, in order to improve the taste of their final product.
By buying second-hand you may be able to afford a still made of better material. For example, a copper still used which is the price of a stainless steel still brand new.
Distillation is a very scientific process and requires very clean conditions. Maintaining your still is immensely important in order to produce shine that is safe to drink.
When purchasing a second-hand still, the condition is an important aspect to consider before making a selection.
Pot stills particularly need to be cleaned before and after each run. Copper can be difficult to clean and maintain so it is important the previous owner has made steps to do so.
Another consideration is the fact that there is no guarantee that your still is in good or safe working condition when purchasing second-hand. As a still isn’t something you can ‘try before you buy’ you are gambling with your money and your safety.
Just because you are buying a still second-hand doesn’t mean that the purchase is still illegal in some areas of the world.
It is important to familiarize yourself with the laws in your area before you purchase a still-whether it is brand new or second hand.
Check out: Is Moonshine Illegal?
Purchasing a second-hand still may seem like an inexpensive way to get into the moonshine game, but could cost you more in the long run.
By compromising the type, material or size of your still by buying it second-hand, you can pretty much guarantee you will end up purchasing the still you actually want in the future. With this line of thought, you would end up spending more by purchasing a second-hand still.
Buy the Right Still the First Time
A great option for investing in the right still the first time is the Magnum All-in-One Still. The Magnum has the unique feature of acting as both a still and a fermentor, meaning you can buy less equipment.
The Magnum also has a large 50L capacity so you will be able to make many of the larger recipes without an issue.
The Magnum is also a pot still, which are known for their ability to create delicious flavors and textures in your moonshine.
Where to Buy a Used Moonshine Still
Buying a used still from Ebay is an option with both advantages and disadvantages.
Buying from Ebay offers you some protection as the buyer may accept returns and if not, could face backlash from Ebay if their product is defective or doesn’t turn up.
In addition, you have any purchase protection that you credit card or bank offers to help get your money back if the still is not sent or is sent in unusable condition.
The disadvantages of buying from ebay are your inability to physically see the item you are buying before committing to it. The size or condition could be misinterpreted online.
How many times has something shown up on your door way smaller or extremely different from what you expected?
You really need to read all measurements and material descriptions closely to make sure you know exactly what you are getting.
As Ebay is a bidding site, you could be getting less and less of a deal depending on how much competition there is for you item. Many people can find themselves getting lost in the excitement of winning and end up spending much more than they planned.
Another potential drawback is the fact that your still will likely need to be shipped. This can be costly, and your item could still get broken in transit as it will likely not be packed by a professional.
Amazon is another possibility although the majority of the stills for sale on there are brand-new. With Amazon you have all the same advantages of ebay, but also face many of the disadvantages.
However, with Amazon you have a set price and could even get free or overnight shipping. You will still have all the same payment protection from your financial institutions as well as Amazon’s excellent return policy.
There are many options to find local resellers in your area: Varagesale, Kijiji and Craiglist just to name a few.
On the surface purchasing a still from one of these marketplaces seems ideal. You can find a local seller to avoid shipping charges, inspect the still first to make sure you are happy with your purchase before buying and even haggle to get the best price possible.
Of course, this also comes without any financial back-up.
These deals are often done in cash and in person so there really isn’t any type of return policy.
It’s a buyer beware situation that doesn’t always work out well. Also, when purchasing any type of high value item you want to be sure to meet in a public area for your own safety.
There are many moonshine online forums that are not only a great way to learn great tips and information from fellow shiners, but they are also a possibility to purchase used stills.
However, online forums have all the disadvantages of reselling markets and online stores without any of the advantages. Probably best to leave this option unless you are really stuck.