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How do they not get caught and arrested on Moonshiners?

Moonshiners
Moonshiners brew their whiskey in the woods in an effort to evade the law. Pic credit: Discovery

The Discovery docuseries, Moonshiners, has gained a large following in the past nine seasons.

The show follows people who, seemingly illegally, produce moonshine throughout the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Carolinas. The group brews the whiskey beverage deep in the wilderness, attempting to evade the authorities.

Viewers follow the moonshiners on misadventures of whiskey production techniques and everyday life. With colorful names like Digger and Tickle, audiences have grown to love these modern-day bootleggers.

However, moonshining can be a very “whiskey” business, since it is technically illegal activity. With the series being broadcast to millions of viewers, fans have been left to wonder how the moonshiners do not get caught and arrested.

Fans and authorities react

Since the show premiered in late 2011, there has been no known crackdown on the moonshining activities. This has caused the Twitterverse to lash out with claims that the show may be more scripted than real.

One fan tweeted that “Moonshiners may be the most fake show I’ve ever watched.” Others have called the show “staged” and pointed out the hypocrisy of running from authorities, yet being broadcast on national television.

Likewise, a year after the show began, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) stated that “if illegal activity was actually taking place, the Virginia ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement would have taken action.”

Appalachian officials have also said that the show is not what it is portrayed to be and is a “dramatization,” while show producers maintain that it is a real documentary.

Why is moonshining illegal?

One would think that the quantity or quality of alcohol is what makes the act of moonshining illegal. However, it has less to do with alcohol content and more to do with taxes.

Since the whiskey is unregulated, there are no taxes being paid on it. It isn’t being bottled and labeled out to stores when it is being made in the woods.

Guidelines for what is going into the seemingly strange brew are of less concern, as the government doesn’t care what it tastes like. They want accountability from manufacturers and to ensure due taxes are being paid on the products.

It may be possible, however, that the cast has obtained permits to manufacture the moonshine. Tim Smith, who has appeared on all seasons of the popular series, now sells his moonshine, called Climax, in stores.

Moonshiners respond

In 2016, in an attempt to justify the conspiracy theories around the series, Moonshiners stars Tim and Tickle spoke with Fox News on how they get around the law.

“They’ve got to actually catch you doing something wrong. By the time that hits the TV…,” Tickle explained.

He continued, “They watch me on TV Tuesday nights at 9, I’m still not sitting in the same spot at 10 o’clock when the show goes off.”

“It’s no joke. It’s no fake. You know we’re the real deal from the illegal side that went legal,” Tim echoed, referencing his Climax product.

Essentially, the Moonshiners are only putting themselves at risk if they are caught in the act. They have to be arrested during the time they are committing the crime. For now, it seems, at-home viewers can keep watching these bootleggers on the run.

Moonshiners airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Discovery

Courtney Brown is an adjunct professor, marketing professional and...read more

1 thought on “How do they not get caught and arrested on Moonshiners?”

  1. This is probably my favorite show on TV and I, despite being an old disabled, retired Texan country boy who spent 30 years working in electronics design, manufacturing, and repair, fixing PC’s since they were invented, and finally ending my career in software development (hating almost every minute of it), I know of no men, I admire more, or appreciate the wisdom, wit, and sense of humor of like I do a number of you “Good Ol’ boys on this show. I think they may very well in fact, be some of the smartest, truely free men alive in our country today and genuine artists of their incredible craft. I would love to eat a good meal with a number of you gentlemen, followed by a sampling some of your unique, superior products, that stands as possibly the cleanest, most superior products on the planet. Your stories alone, would be worth far more than the cost of the steaks to feed you. Mark and Digger have a friendship unlike most men, unlike me, that 99.9% of the people on this planet will never experience or even understand. People cannot see two men who know each other probably better than even their wives, love each other and have each other’s backs until death do them part without trying to find something offputting about it. And damned if you are not 2 of the funniest men alive when you two are together. Shame on the Twitter twits who have aluded to them being a “couple”. Believe it or not, but two men can be brothers down to their very souls without there being a sexual component to their obvious respect and love for each other. You Twitter twits disgust me. If you look at the hard work, commitment to their craft, and the above PhD ingenuity of all these men, perhaps some being even more a little more experienced and talented than the others, all these men are modern day heroes in my eyes and INCREDIBLE Jack’s of all trades. If I had to pick a few ethical, smart, ingenious men to do anything, build anything, and do it with excellence, speed and without a rediculous level of perfectionism, give me Stevie Ray Tickle, the Law brothers, Mark Rogers, Huck, Mark and Digger, just to name just a few, and they could make damned miracles happen, probably using only the tools they have with them in the back of their trucks. If I wanted something to go FAST, I would also add Josh to that short list, despite my thinking we should probably keep him covered in bubble wrap and duct tape for his own protection. He is a really good guy, hot tempered to be sure, but no man has so many really good friends like he does without good reason and damned if he doesn’t come up with some great ideas. Definitely would want him around if I needed to fall a tree or a friend to have my back after walking into the wrong bar. I will end with this: Am I the only person who would pay a$100 to Listen to Mark Rogers read a few chapters of “Huckleberry Finn” just to hear that man talk? Give that man a Bowie knife, a chainsaw, a hammer, a battery powered drill, a box of screws and nails, and he could build absolutely ANYTHING in tje woods. Gentleman, I know I am a total stranger, but you are all like old friends to me. You remind me of my great uncles and grandfather, part the greatest generation, who thrived during the great depression, killed, caught, and grew their own food, and often told funny stories about themselves, their brothers, and cousins that always seemed to start with “We were all at the deer camp drinking corn liquor and…. I am not a huge drinker these days, but my greatest regret is not having the chance to buy a few jugs from each of you. Sugarlands isn’t bad, but I would cross a state line to taste your, best in the world, hand crafted products, and it is a damned shame most folks will never get to taste the best distilled products in the world. God bless you, stay free, and thank you all for making me laugh like no show on TV ever has. I can’t count the number of times, I wish I had the bottom of my deep freeze lined with some of your products, especially your hand crafted, no syrup added, brandies. Keep on keeping on and ignore the hating Twitter twits…they are just jealous of your good looks.

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