Manatee couple charged with possessing moonshine

rdymond@bradenton.comNovember 1, 2013 

MANATEE -- A Manatee County couple was charged with a crime that is rather unusual in these parts.

Brian and Kristin Donahue of the 3700 block of 18th Street East were charged with possessing moonshine, according to a report from The Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.

Brian Donahue, 50, was also charged with possession of a still and for selling alcohol with intent to evade taxes, according to the report.

The Donahues were both arrested Wednesday, but Brian Donahue was able to post a $3,000 bond and get out of jail later that day, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office website.

Kristin Donahue posted a $1,500 bond and was re

leased Thursday, the website states.

The division received a tip back in August that people were always drinking moonshine from Mason jars that they buy from "Brian" on 18th Street East.

Agents called the tipster and reportedly learned that Brian Donahue had been selling homemade moonshine from his residence to selective individuals whom he knows or whom have been introduced to him, the report states.

The tipster believed Donahue sold one large jar of moonshine for approximately $30 to $40 and one small jar for approximately $15 to $20.

On Oct. 10, the agents equipped the tipster with a listening device to make a controlled buy, the report indicates.

Donahue told the tipster that he had moonshine in all kinds of flavors, including strawberry, vanilla, clear and apple pie and could make any kind of proof wanted, according to the report.

The informant bought a $25 Mason jar of apple pie, the report states.

Donahue, who was being recorded, told the informant that he makes approximately 10 to 12 gallons of moonshine a week.

On Oct. 16, the informant returned to the Donahue home and purchased four "clear" moonshine jars at $25 per jar, which was about 120 proof. During that purchase, the informant, who was again equipped with a listening device, asked Donahue how he made the moonshine and if he made it himself. Donahue stated "Yes, I make it myself and also stated, "You have to have a still."

Donahue explained that he had an ice machine on his property that makes 1,000 pounds of ice a day with an 800-pound storage bin, and he sells ice from his residence.

Donahue also said that his condenser draws steam into a liquid, which is why he needs ice to chill it through the ice water tubing, which is all copper. Donahue said, "Your condenser has to be copper and that steam has to touch copper. That's what separates the molecules and pulls the alcohol out of the water," Donahue reportedly told the informant.

Donahue also said his was an "internal reflux still" that makes no noise, no smoke and no smell, but that a "wash" must be mixed up right, the report states.

A "wash" includes 350 pounds of corn, 350 pounds of sugar and a pound of distiller juice, Donahue reportedly told the informant.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7052 or via Twitter @ RichardDymond.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service