Why Is Copper Used for Moonshine Stills?

Moonshine Stills

Moonshine, or unregistered whiskey, is an alcoholic beverage commonly produced, packaged, and sold illegally during the period known as Prohibition (or The Great Depression). To avoid taxation and restrictions on their alcohol production, farmers and locals across America began to produce moonshine. Moonshine is typically made from corn mash, sugar, and yeast. During this process, unregistered whiskey producers used various methods to prevent the excise officers from detecting the presence of alcohol. In order to do so, these producers relied on common household materials such as copper tubing. While copper might not seem like the ideal material for a moonshine still, it has a variety of properties that makes it well-suited for this purpose. Let’s explore why copper is used for moonshine stills!

Copper’s Role in Moonshine Stills

Before we go into the details of why copper is used for moonshine stills, it’s helpful to understand its role in the distilling process. Distillation is separating mixtures by removing specific components from a solution through vaporization and condensation. A still is a device that is used in distillation. The copper moonshine stills are used to remove substances from water and alcohol vapors.

Because copper is a conductor, it allows electric charges to pass through it. This allows the copper moonshine stills to function properly as it helps to draw the vapors through the surface of the copper still. Moreover, copper is also an excellent thermal conductor, which means that it efficiently transfers heat from one location to another. This property is extremely useful in distillation because it allows the silver moonshine stills to warm up quickly and cool down. In turn, this prevents the distillation process from being too lengthy.

Copper Used for Moonshine Stills

Importance of Copper in the Distilling Process

Now that we’ve explored copper’s role in distillation, let’s discuss the importance of copper in the distilling process. Copper is often used in distilling as it’s an inexpensive material that’s easy to shape and form. Moreover, copper is extremely durable and can withstand corrosion from acid solutions. This makes copper moonshine stills a reliable choice for many moonshiners. Additionally, copper is a great conductor of heat and electricity, making it ideal for distilling as it quickly draws in and transfers the vapors from the solution.

Why Is Copper Used Instead of Other Materials?

Although copper has many advantages over other materials such as stainless steel and aluminum, there are a few reasons why it’s commonly used for moonshine stills. First and foremost, copper is non-reactive. This means that the copper moonshine stills won’t interact with the solution being distilled, which is crucial in preventing the moonshine from being tainted by flavors such as copper. The fact that copper is cheap and readily available makes it an ideal choice. Additionally, copper is easy to shape and form, which makes it simple to create moonshine stills.


Overall, copper is popular with many moonshiners due to its low cost, non-reactivity, and excellent thermal conductivity. However, it’s important to remember that copper is harmful when consumed in high amounts. If you’re interested in making moonshine at home, you can use copper distilling equipment to make your moonshine.

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