On moonshine and mayhem


  • via tnwhitewhiskey.com

Warning: As the title might imply, this is not especially suitable material for kids, or at work, or in polite company, or for sensitive folks of any sort.

"POPCORN SAYS FUCK YOU." Literally. That's what he had carved on his tombstone, well before he took his own life rather than go to the federal penitentiary at the age of 62 and in less than robust health. Popcorn Sutton was a moonshiner. A legend. A rascal. He wore a dried up raccoon dick on his ever-present hat. To say he was a character might be one of the understatements of the century. He spent his life trying to evade the law, playing cat and mouse with necessary privacy and the twisted sort of fame that comes with being an outlaw who is not necessarily camera shy. He spent his life trying to practice an art that many say he perfected, but those that actually experienced his moonshine are just a lucky few.

Quite a bit more than a few folks are now familiar with Popcorn Sutton through the (crappy, exploitative, sensationalist) show Moonshiners on Discovery, which has attracted several million viewers a week. His story was featured on the season finale, and now all those millions of viewers are on the hunt (at least the Google hunt) for Popcorn Sutton moonshine. What they'll find is that his wife (along with Hank Williams, Jr.) has taken Popcorn's blessings (and recipe) and finally gone legit, making a "white whiskey" bearing Popcorn Sutton's name that folks can buy at their local liquor store. How closely this mirrors the real thing in taste, most will never know. Popcorn did set the foundation for it, most likely to make sure his wife had something to live on, and that his legacy would live on, as well.

Can a legal bottle of whiskey possibly capture the true spirit of the type of moonshine that Popcorn Sutton made and everything that it stands for? Well... one is legit, the other is legal. I get the impression that Popcorn would not be pleased with Discovery's Moonshiners, but he also never minded getting a bit of good publicity. He may be smiling down from moonshine heaven with a big grin on his face and a loud cackle in his throat. At the same time, he's probably looking down, giving everyone - the TV network, the fans, the revenuers - the finger and singing a certain song by Cee Lo Green.