White Whiskey vs. Moonshine: the tale of Popcorn Sutton

Y’all know I’m not one to start fights, but what was said in this video clip from the short-lived Moonshiners dramatization about one of Tennessee’s more famous moonshiners, Popcorn Sutton, just ain’t right. But as author Max Watman pointed out on Facebook, there was a lot not right with that hoax of a show.

Let me start by saying I never knew or met Popcorn Sutton, and it’s sad that he took his life given the options he had to elevate the craft of whiskey and moonshine making. That said, someone has clearly told Popcorn’s widow a few white lies.

“We have a distillery set up in Nashville, TN.” Popcorn Sutton’s widow Pam says in the video above. “We can’t legally call it moonshine. We have to call it Tennessee White Whiskey, and also Popcorn’s liquor is the first White Whiskey that the federal government has approved.”

It’s not a big secret that Popcorn Sutton does not have a distillery in Nashville. They are using another company’s federally registered distillery, and there’s nothing wrong with saying that.

pamsuttonMaybe Jamey Grosser knew Popcorn well enough to know he didn’t care what Jamey called it, but it’s perfectly legal to call it what it is: moonshine. Google it. Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine, Original Moonshine, Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine, Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon Moonshine, Georgia Moon Moonshine, and our very own Short Mountain Shine – Tennessee Moonshine.

Despite what Pam was told, Popcorn’s recipe is hardly the first to call itself “White Whiskey,” a term that simply means they ran it through a barrel fast enough to convince the federal government that it’s whiskey. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, but let’s be honest. We all have Google.

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    January 6th, 2012 at 09:58 | #1

    Geeee I live in Haywood county where he grew up . Like you said you did not EVER MEET Popcorn but I have lots of people here that were very close to him. Here is where you miss the boat on this article. Every moonshiner has different recipe. ALSO EVERY MOONSHINERS STILL IS DIFFERENT! Every thumper and worm are the same after that beyond parts vary. Before you go Slamming my friend Ms Pam you need to go do some homework!

  2. Christian Grantham
    January 6th, 2012 at 11:13 | #2

    You and I are both right that everyone has different ways to do it, and that’s the point of this post I think is being overlooked by Jamey and Pam. Jamey claims Popcorn was the last guy to do it right. Is that right? Pam says you can’t call it moonshine. Before you get all offended, maybe you need to talk to Pam and Jamey about being open to the very possibilities you and I both describe.

  3. Daniel
    January 6th, 2012 at 19:33 | #3

    This is typical Popcorn isn’t it. He swore to everybody he knew that he was the last moonshiner alive. The world ended at the end of the holler and now his wife, Jamey and Hank Williams Jr are running around saying all kinds of stuff like this.

    There is all kinds of moonshine and white whiskey right at the store and all kinds of moonshiners alive and well and making some fine moonshine. But Pam and Jamey don’t have nothing on Hank’s crazy Hitler talk that got him fired from the NFL. All Pam and Jamey need is to visit a liquor store. It’s not that easy to fix what Hank’s got.

  4. Clayton Mosby
    January 9th, 2012 at 17:41 | #4

    Who gives a rats ass what ya call it, the feds killed a good man for what? a bunch of silly ass rules because All the ‘shiners don’t pay taxes! Rules and regs;WHO NEED’em?

  5. Daniel
    January 11th, 2012 at 18:28 | #5

    Popcorn Sutton killed himself. A lot more moonshiners who make better have not and maybe some country music stars will help them make it legally. That would be awesome to see regional moonshines.

  6. Dewayne
    February 7th, 2012 at 12:05 | #6

    how close is the store version to the real xxx stuff?

  7. Rorry Studley
    May 12th, 2012 at 20:30 | #7

    were can i get some of this i live in washington state?

  8. Gary
    May 21st, 2012 at 22:32 | #8

    its called “everclear” available in 151 and 190 proof depending on state laws

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