Can You Buy Moonshine in Canada

Can You Buy Moonshine in Canada

Moonshine began as an illegal liquor, sold when alcohol was illegal. It endured and is now gaining popularity, making its way into the mainstream liquor market. Alcohol made in a licenced facility is now legal to purchase and enjoy in Canada.

What is Moonshine?

We know moonshine to be a very strong spirit that emerged during the alcohol bans of the early 20th century. Distillers worked to perfect it and it is now gaining traction in the alcohol world, though it is not quiete considered a commercial liquor now. The government has enacted laws to regulate the distilling of moonshine, which is a sure sign that the liquor is making its way into the mainstream.

Moonshine is now known to be a homemade, unaged whiskey. It is easily identified by its clear color-- clear as water, since it is not barrel aged as whiskey usually is. Most also know of whiskey because of its high alcohol content. Due in part to this high alcohol content, moonshine has a very distinct and often harsh scent. However, despite this, moonshine is beloved by whiskey aficionados and cocktail enthusiasts alike. Moonshine can be consumed on its own-- especially in the case of moonshine with innovative new flavours.

It can also be used in cocktails, for those who would prefer not to drink it straight, and many flavors of moonshine are crafted specifically with your favourite cocktails in mind.

The History of Moonshine

Moonshine has links to the Temperance movement, and originated as a black market alternative to the liquor bans that ensued. It was a new style of creating liquor, so during this time, it was still being perfected by the distillers. Without these historical events acting as a catalyst, moonshine would probably not exist as we know it.

Temperance Movement

The Temperance movement was a campaign that promoted moderation, and usually, complete abstinence, when concerning liquor and alcohol. This took place in North America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 20th century, it caused a provincial ban of alcohol. When the Temperance movement came to Canada and brought these bans on alcohol, many whiskey distillers continued their trade in secret. 

Black Market Distilling

Whiskey distillers moved their fermentation and distillation equipment in order to continue to make and sell their alcohol. They brought everything into secluded areas where the law could not find them, and where they could not be found out by pro-Temperance neighbours.

Due to this secrecy and the fear of bring found out, distillers had to forgo the process of barrel aging their whiskey. If their stash of whiskey was found while barrel aging, they would face very high fines. They also chose to skip this step because of the high demand for black market alcohol during the alcohol bans.

Since this whiskey was not being barrel aged, it came out clear and high in alcohol. Distillers also used locally sourced ingredients such as cider, blueberries, spices, and more to flavour this liquor with while trying to perfect this new style of crafting whiskey.

Modern Moonshine

Moonshine is still being crafted today, even after alcohol bans were lifted and Canadians were able to purchase it legally again. After discovering and perfecting it, many distillers continued to distill moonshine for their customers-- and for themselves. As with other liquors, there is a variety of options when it comes to moonshine. 

Distilleries Today

Currently, craft distilleries are still uncommon.

They have been recently rising in numbers and popularity, however. In order to become licensed to distill liquor, you must have all of the equipment in place before the government will approve and award you a license. This is an expensive investment.

However, in order to distill and sell liquor or moonshine, you must have a license from the government. Now, distillers who are making moonshine experiment with tweaking flavors and other features of the liquor to suit individual preferences. It is one of the liquors that is still not as common-- it is not considered commercial alcohol--, but can be seen as more personal and more artisanal. 

Good news though - Skunkworks Distillery in Calgary makes premium moonshine and we have a tasting room that is open 4 nights a week.  We would love to host you and share our moonshine with you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is moonshine sold in Canada?

Yes, you can buy moonshine in Canada from certain distilleries. These are vetted by the federal government and given a license to distill and sell the liquor.

Is Everclear legal in Canada?

Yes, you can get Everclear in Canada. It may be difficult to find in certain areas, however.

What Alcohol is in Moonshine?

Moonshine is made from whiskey. It can use any type of grain or fruit as its base ingredient, but the moonshine we think of today is usually made of corn as its fermentable sugar.  Moonshine also has a certain percentage of alcohol in it. 

Is it illegal to drink moonshine in Canada?

No, it is not illegal to drink moonshine in Canada if you are above the drinking age. It is only illegal to distill liquor or moonshine in Canada without a license, so be sure to buy your moonshine from a distillery that is properly licensed. 

Is moonshine safe to drink?

Illegal, home brewed moonshine can be dangerous-- just like any home-brewed substance-- because it is unregulated. Moonshine from a licensed, reputable distillery is safe to drink. Of course, like any liquor, it should be consumed in moderation.