Saturday, January 10, 2015

Whiskey Rebel

Reblogged from ZEROGOV via WRSA

“Jesus turned water into wine, I turned it into damn likker” – Popcorn Sutton
Appalachia’s history is largely comprised of tales of resistance of one form or another.  The poster child of Appalachia’s rebellion against unjust authority has always been the Moonshiner, the maker of non-government approved distilled spirits. These spirits were commonly referred to in the southern lexicon as moonshine, mountain dew, white lightning, “painter piss,” or perhaps more simply “likker.” There is no moonshiner more infamous than the Smoky Mountain’s own, Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. He was not only one of the most famous makers of illicit liquor, but he also led his entire life in defiance of government authority and was quite a character to boot. Click here for more.


  1. I am proud to be cut from the same type of cloth. I grew up with people who viewed the world in the same light as Mr. Sutton. Not that they were in the “likker” business, but that they did not meddle in other folk’s business and they did not like people prying into theirs. None of my people (that I know of) ran liquor. My wife’s people on the other hand were big time whiskey makers. While Mr. Sutton, in later life, made whiskey to drink, they made whiskey to sell. At times they made thousands of gallons per week. That is right. Thousands. Their whiskey was just as palatable as Mr. Sutton’s, but they mass produced, hauled, and sold thousands of gallons. Multiply this times hundreds if not thousands of moonshiners and one can see why the “revoonooers” would be a little pissed at missing that kind of income. Several families in this area made fortunes in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and into the early 1970’s doing the same thing. My wife’s daddy was on probation at fourteen for distilling illegal liquor. Her grandpa went to the penitentiary four times for making liquor. His name was Ellie Reno. He never had a “job”. He wrecked thirty-six ’36 Ford’s. His daddy went to prison for making whiskey as did that man’s daddy. She comes from four generations of moonshiner’s. She is rebel if I ever saw one! LOL

    A great piece and well written!

  2. I, too, grew up with people like Popcorn. My two uncles used to make likker up in Gainesville, GA (before it became a big city) and sold it out of his little upholstery shop. When I got my drivers license at 16 he asked me to take a couple of crates to Chattanooga, since my brothers car (which he let me drive on Saturday) and didn't look like any of his. So I did and I guess that makes me a moonshiner, too. I got $20 for making the run. And $20 in 1960 was good money.

  3. Yep, you DON'T want to cross them... And I've drank my share of it in Louisiana... :-)


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