A three part mini series called How Booze Built America will air in a couple weeks on the Discovery Channel and features several folks and locations from the Middle Tennessee area. It’s hosted by Mike Rowe of the popular show Dirty Jobs.
Short Mountain Distillery was the site of a full day of filming back in June. Our upcoming release of Short Mountain Apple Pie Moonshine may or may not make an appearance, but I’m sure the effects will. Mike sat with our three living legends of moonshine at the end of a long day of filming and made sure close to a gallon of it got gone.
The role booze had in building our country is as evident in today’s recovery from the worst economic recession in American history as it was in our rebellious beginning. As I write some big checks to the federal government on the production and sale of our moonshine, I’m reminded of the role the Whiskey Tax played in paying for America’s Revolutionary War. I’m also reminded how down right pleasant the IRS is these days compared to our founding father George Washington who sent soldiers to make sure the taxes were paid… and how that very decision by our government helped create the illicit heritage of backwoods moonshine production we are only now beginning to revive.
In a couple of weeks, this is the story America will learn again thanks to the awesomeness that is Mike Rowe. Once the promos are posted, I’ll share them here. Several TV guide listings across the country have the first episode appearing at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, but local media reports Sept. 18. There is no information on the Discovery Channel website yet. I’ll post correct times once they are available.
In HOW BOOZE BUILT AMERICA, Mike Rowe will crisscross the country, stiff drink in hand and beer goggles firmly strapped on, to take an in depth and slightly unusual look at the story of our nation. Between reenactments of actual historical events, and current day interviews with historians and experts, Rowe will make the case that alcohol is clearly one of the key ingredients that formed our culture and our country.
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: