Moonshiners dramatization passed off as reality TV

It didn’t take America long to figure out that the short lived Discovery “reality TV” show Moonshiners was a fake. The real question was why did it take Discovery Channel so long to pull the plug?

Most people familiar with moonshine culture didn’t need recent confirmation from the state of Virginia to figure out the ill-fated Moonshiners series was a fake, but it was a welcomed sign that at least someone involved wasn’t going along.

In an online interview one person suggested that he actually made moonshine, which is illegal; in response, the agency that regulates alcohol in Virginia said on Thursday that the show was just a dramatization. “If illegal activity was actually taking place, the Virginia ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement would have taken action,” the agency told The Associated Press.

The show sure is suggestive, though. In one episode, two people are shown apparently firing up their distillery for the first time. A Discovery spokeswoman declined to comment.

There is a deep historic connection America has with moonshine and whiskey making. Moonshine is a part of our nation’s rich agricultural heritage. We have nothing to be ashamed about other than our willingness to accept cheap portrayals of our very American story.

UPDATE 12-7-12: Since this post, me and some friends opened a distillery and launched an award winning brand of 105 proof authentic Tennessee moonshine that made Short Mountain famous for generations. If you want to see how moonshine is made in broad day light and experience the heart of America’s moonshine revival, come meet our three living legends of backwoods whiskey making heritage. Here’s a short video about who and what we are:

  1. January 4th, 2012 at 13:54 | #1

    At least they could keep it real… But then again how many reality shows demonstrate things accurately…? I hope that reality shows don’t forever fall into the Hollywood model… I knew this show was a farce the first time I saw it…

  2. steve wiseman
    October 19th, 2012 at 09:37 | #2

    Well popcorn sutton was for real. he got busted and killed his self. So maybe now it’s fake, but before yes he was the real one.

  3. johnny
    January 2nd, 2013 at 21:28 | #3

    when is america just going to shut off the tv or change the channel when somehing this fake is portrayed as real…i guess when the amish mafia show up on the doorsteps with their buggys and pitchforks(sorry, cadillacs and bushmasters…right?

  4. Brian
    January 4th, 2013 at 00:19 | #4

    Yeah… Discovery really “pulled the plug” on this didn’t they? I guess they were caught with their pants down!

    Or… not. Watching season 2 right now. Seems like your comments and blog are pretty laughable. The show is careful not to show anything illegal. But it is entertaining and unless law enforcement can test some of the “shine” purportedly shown, they really don’t have a case now do they?

    So, while some of the show may be scripted or made to look as though illegal activities are occurring, there’s nothing for authorities to do. The show is wildly entertaining and… it’s actually the biggest HIT on Discovery and all other basic cable channels.

    Seems like your proclaimation of the show’s demise was premature.

  5. Christian Grantham
    January 4th, 2013 at 12:12 | #5

    Brian, this was not “a proclaimation of the show’s demise.” The date of this post was over a year ago and reports what the state of Virginia shared with the media regarding the first season of the show being fake.

    There is a new season, and it seems like Discovery Channel has taken this “laughable” blog and the state of Virginia seriously enough to make the show much better.

    I have not seen the new season, but I do notice promos suggesting they are working on a legal distillery. That’s the way it ought to be, and I’m glad Discovery Channel and the subjects now agree as well.

  6. Clifton
    January 31st, 2013 at 18:29 | #6

    The footage for the show was recorded years ago!!! All of it was so as to when it was first broadcast it was over done with no case no evidence even Tim Smith said how could they charge him with something he did years ago and of which they have no evidence!!! Its real!!!

  7. Cedric
    January 31st, 2013 at 21:15 | #7

    80-100 proof whiskey isn’t what I’d call moonshine. You can put whatever label you want on it, but the real deal can still be purchased. I’ve tasted real moonshine and watched it burn off your hand over a campfire and never burn the skin. This watered down “authentic” crap will never do that.

  8. February 6th, 2013 at 19:41 | #8

    Thesse stuipid, country peckawoods!! Talking about moonshine….. Being illegal, everybody’s watching yall ..especialy the cops,! The show is an abomination: to the public!”. I oughta come outwith something just anything !!! I wonder how veiwers would I have??? To a reality show…. Of a african american male.! That tuff was just so, so, …… so freakin stupid and ignorant! …. Peace! With Much Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding”. T28

  9. February 8th, 2013 at 15:39 | #9

    I agree with Brian, this show is extremely entertaining !! For those critics out there that seem intent on pointing out the show’s faults, why don’t you turn the channel. I don’t care if it’s fake or not, don’t care if their recipes are accurate, and don’t care if they make $10 or 10 million….. I think the show is hilarious. Who can’t laugh at Jim Tom’s stories or Tickle’s advice on life or Cutie Pie, the only shade-wearing, Harley riding Terrier I’ve ever seen. I tune in every week and plan to continue as long as the show exists. Kudos Discovery !!

  10. February 12th, 2013 at 02:45 | #10

    so just when did mr,pop-corn kill hem self the day and year

  11. Tony
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:09 | #11

    @steve wiseman
    shiner shows Just a very bad influence on all ages.

  12. Tony
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:12 | #12

    Tony :@steve wiseman shiner shows Just a very bad influence on all ages. And then Who cares *?!

  13. jason
    February 15th, 2013 at 00:22 | #13

    the show is not fake.. and if you know any laws at all you would know you cant be caught by being filmed. they have to catch you in the process of making moonshine. not only that this show was done 5 years ago then put on the air. Virgina is covering up the fact they cant stop moonshiners from moon-shining. those of you whom think its fake need a reality check.. because obviously your are fake!

  14. victoria
    June 9th, 2013 at 21:10 | #14

    i was at a scence today of the moonshiners

  15. Art
    August 12th, 2013 at 17:25 | #15

    T28 :
    Thesse stuipid, country peckawoods!! Talking about moonshine….. Being illegal, everybody’s watching yall ..especialy the cops,! The show is an abomination: to the public!”. I oughta come outwith something just anything !!! I wonder how veiwers would I have??? To a reality show…. Of a african american male.! That tuff was just so, so, …… so freakin stupid and ignorant! …. Peace! With Much Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding”. T28

    Moron. There is enough crap already on TV without your idea of what should pass. Calling a person a peckerwood just shows your mentality- therefore, your directing skills would not lag too far behind either, I bet. Why don’t you crank up the New Jack City and watch all “yo homeyz git hit and drop”…the difference here is these people have successfully evaded capture using their intellects and brains rather than MAC-10′s and causing all sorts of collateral damage…
    Oh, and it is spelled “viewers”. Have a lil respect.
    Idiot.

    @T28

  16. November 29th, 2013 at 15:21 | #16

    my grandfather was a real moonshiner in the hills of west virginia….eastern panhandle….50′s and 60′s…berkeley county…i know whats real and whats not…this show is totally made up…as a young kid….i thought it was strange pap would keep all those jugs of water in the loft of the old barn….of course later i knew what it was…im 51 years old now…

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