Many of those who died in Haridwar in Uttarkhand state and two districts in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh complained of stomach pains and respiratory problems, relatives and officials said.
The city of Saharanpur's top administrative officer said a man had distributed some 30 pouches of the poisonous liquor that caused the deaths, Indian broadcaster NDTV reported.
More than four dozen people have been admitted to hospitals in both districts, and the death toll could climb further, officials said. Over 200 people have been detained and cases registered against the persons for manufacturing and selling liquor without authorization.
"We have confirmed 46 deaths in Saharanpur district but the post-mortem report of only 36 cases suggest they have died due to consumption of alcohol".
More than 50 people died in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district, while 18 more died at the Meerut Medical College, the IANS news agency reported.
Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh Police teams are carrying out joint operations along the UP-Uttarakhand border.
Several officials associated with excise and police departments have been suspended.
The action has been taken following instructions from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Police have arrested 30 people in the incident, including eight bootleggers.
In December 2011, hooch tragedy killed 172 people in West Bengal.
At least 70 people have died and another 27 fallen sick from drinking cheap spurious liquor containing toxic methanol in several villages in northern India, officials and local media said on Saturday.