Popcorn Sutton’s moonshine still

My friend Tom and his cohort are working on a documentary about disappearing Appalachian lifestyles. They took this photo of legendary moonshiner Popcorn Sutton and his still. Apparently, the still blew up shortly after this photo was made.

In addition to the photo, Tom also gave me a jug of moonshine that was from the last batch before the blast. Popcorn signed the bottle in his usual ornery way: “Popcorn Sutton said Fuck You. July 2007.”

Apparently, old Popcorn is a bit of a prick. When I Googled him, I turned up this blog that his daughter created. Amazing.

I haven’t sampled this batch of ‘shine, but the last time I got into Popcorn’s wares it was a real treat. He might be an asshole, but he makes great moonshine.

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25 Responses to Popcorn Sutton’s moonshine still

  1. Bruce Highfill says:

    Popcorn…..This may sound funny coming from an Old Yankee but…my wife and I would like to meet you. I live in the SC Upstate but ever since I saw the “Hillbilly” TV show, I’ve been amazed at the way that you stick to your roots and keep Cocke County as the only county still rooted in the traditions of distilling ( The Journal of Cconne County just ran an article naming Cocke County as the last place where the tradition is still alive)…..

    I’m a retired paramedic and have NO ties to law enforcement (That’s in writing and God strike me dead if I’m lyin”)

    I’ve seen what your daughter (Skye) wrote and and hey…..we all change in time. even if you haven’t I’d like to meet you…Please e-mail me back…..Thanks for your time, Sir

    Bruce Highfill

  2. Sky Sutton says:

    Yes, my father Marvin is a popular character.

    Mr. Highfill, spoken as a young Yankee, it is my experience that people only become more themselves. I hope that when you meet my father you don’t end up as insulted and degraded as most people do. (And my name is not spelled with a “e”.)

    Someday I hope to see honorable men cheered for their moonshine skills. In the mean time people will continue to follow the trail of vile language, crass behavior and shallow teachings of Marvin Sutton ( who currently is running a 100 gallon still that I wish the law enforcement officers of Cocke County would find so Marvin could be caught for breaking his probation.)

  3. Donn says:

    I cannot believe the poor treatment of Mr. Popcorn! Several of my relatives in Claiborne County, TN survived by the selling of moonshine. Stills are no stranger to me, although that is a different world from the one I live in. I knew the fine people, and they are still among some of the kindest people I know. Who shall we go after next? Medical transcriptionists who work from home? Avon ladies? How about if Popcorn pays off his past taxes? How about if he pays taxes on future income? Any different from liquor stores?

  4. brandon cyote says:

    i am 58 years old. i drank moonshine on hog town ridge in moorehead , kentucky ever since i was 16 years old. it’s 10 times better than gov. whiskey. the only reason the gov. calls it illeagal is because they want to tax it and get money off it. i feel that they ought to leave people alone who make it. at least ,these people who make it are willing to work for what money they get. making moonshine is hard work, and the price of sugar is gettin higher. popcorn give them hell and i’ll bet the shine they took from you will probably be drank by the prosacuter and the judge

  5. John W. Hardin says:

    We all try to earn our livin doing what we injoy doing and what we know how to do. I’d shure like to shake Mr. Popcorn’s hand and have a shot of the good stuff.

  6. Rosie says:

    You have one of Don’s photos! Did you see the whole set? They are breathtaking.

  7. Benz says:

    Yes. He and Tom showed me the entire set. Don is an amazing photographer.

  8. I would love to meet you Mr. Sutton. I am 15 yrs old and i live in Duncan Sc i love that you ar eso stuck to makin shine and those feds are arsholes

  9. JEFF says:

    ALL THESE POSTS ABOUT HOW WONDERFUL THIS MAN IS CRAZY. YOU MIGHT SAY THAT THE COLUMBIAN DRUG LORDS HAVE BEEN DOIN IT FOR YEARS AND THEY ARE ARSHOLES BUT MAKE SOME GOOD STUFF. I DON’T THINK THAT THEY CARE ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE SAY AND HECK WITH THE LAW. IF YOU WANT TO COMPARE POPCORN TO ANYTHING IT SHOULD BE WHAT HE REALLY IS SOMEONE WHO CANT ABIDE BY THE LAW AND MAKES A MOCKERY OF IT.

  10. Jesse Lambert says:

    I think they should leave ol popcorn alone all he is doin is trying to make a dollar i mean them cops was just doing their job when they busted him and all he was doing was his job makeing that good ol moon water for us ol mountian boys that think that govt liquer is just a waste of money

  11. Mushy says:

    Popcorn should be saluted for being one of the last of the great Appalachian men. He was a man that did what he had to do to keep his family fed. He made a lot of people happy and helped them forget their troubles.

  12. jenny says:

    People do need to leave him the hell alone at least he is making a living doing something that is not hurting anyone. At least he isn’t selling the drugs that rot your brain and make holes in your nose and the front of your brain.That is where the cops need to be. Check on the doc. and the companies that are handing them out like candy. If they were concentrating on where they need to, they wouldn’t have the time to even think about popcorn, moonshine is one of the best drinks there is and instead of bothering someone that won’t hurt anyone why not go after those that make it and try and poison people by cutting it with crap that will kill you. This is to popcorn hope you see it, I had a gallon of shine in my frig. one time and a gallon of bought water, I had a friend come over and she went to get a drink of water and got the wrong jug. She poured her some in a glass took a big swig and you talkin about a face and very funny expression on her face I forgot to tell her it was in there, before she done it. I laughed my butt off.
    Do what you want you ain’t hurting anyone just don’t get caught again. But, your like the rest of the good people once gotten they won’t leave you alone if it makes them money they will get it one way or another.

  13. VANCE says:

    MOONSHINE IS LIKE SEX…
    1)YOU CAN NEVER GET ENOUGH.
    2)YOU WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR FIRST TIME.
    3)EVEN WHEN IT’S BAD, IT’S STILL GOOD.
    4)TOO MUCH WILL PUT YOU IN THE GRAVE.

    GIVE THEM HELL POPCORN…IT’S OUR HERITAGE TO MAKE MOONSHINE HERE IN TENNESSEE.

  14. Bumpkin says:

    I’ve heard about Popcorn for a while now and have been trying to locate a copy of his book or DVD and have had no luck. Anyone know where I might be able to get my hands on a copy of either.
    Thanks

  15. Johny B. says:

    Howdy im 41 my dad run shine for years when I was a pup Irember it well,when I got oldnuf I took my first shot An fell in love with it scenc Iv had some good and sampeled some bad ,havent had any of POPCORNS but maybe Illbe lucky and get a shot one day, Back here whear I live it was hard to find good clean likker to drink.Had a lot of people tell me they could get it but never came through ,So now I got me a little cook shak up in the hills of WV.and make some purtty good creekwater.had a lot of people say best Iever.makes me feel good to hear that but I aint as good as Popcorn and dont clam it but Iknow it can be drank an not hurt anyone at all.that makes me feel good.To all those that make it for profit insted of for sipin it aint in your hart to make good likker so leave it alone if u cant drink your own dont no oneeles want it eather. If your going to make it ,drink it,love it ,enjoy it .

  16. Capt Peter says:

    We at Misty Mountain Ranch in Maggie Valley NC 828-926-2710 Have all of Popcorns DVD’s and stuff. We talk to Popcorn every day and he is doing OK. We have a lenicy petition for all to sign to help Popcorn. He is on House arrest. He needs any donation to live on. And your prayers to help him to get through this. He will be sentanced Aug 4th and will keep you posted. Popcorn sold holy water to tourist and thats really his crime. Some crime Capt Peter

  17. kyle says:

    Keep it up Popcorn, I think that you are doing a good job! But please try not to get caught again. I hope to meet you some day. I like most of you believe that moonshine should be legal and untaxed. MOONSHINERS UNITE!!!

  18. terry hoppenbrouwer says:

    I live in tallahassee fl.I been knowing popcorn sence I was 7 years old pop corn used to work for my dad eddie hoppenbrouwer at the old texaco station on jonathan creek and when I turn old enugh to drink wich was 16 ha.I was drinking the good stuff.I remeber going up to ma and pa suttons house to have shen digs.thats were popcorn tought me how to play the the spoons and i stil know how.I shure miss that guy tell him I said hi and let my dad know how hes doing,tjhopp

  19. TONG LI says:

    We are starting a moonshine distillery in China and would like to have him to join us. We make moonshine more than legally.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/ls-moonshine-moonshine-whiskey–/story.aspx?guid=%7B832F470A-795C-4C92-80EE-46975709B721%7D

    It would be great if we could preserve Mr. Marvin Sutton’s moonshine making art more than legally.

    Please contact me if you know how to contact Mr. Marvin Popcorn Sutton.

    Tong Li
    admin@lsmoonshine.com

  20. Adam Barrow says:

    I have looked every where for a way to contact Mr. Marvin Popcorn Sutton to set up an interview if I could get a phone number that would be fine.

  21. Terry Watts says:

    I am 53yrs old and been around likker all my life i think the feds should be looking for the drug dealers instead of messing with somebody that makes better likker than the goverment. Give em hell popcorn but be careful the feds might want some of your likkr at there next party they have where they break the law doing god knows what Old Freind From Clarkesville Georgia T.W.

  22. bob says:

    I think Popcorn is a hero, leave him alone. He’s an old man that knows his trade, probably the only trade he knows, moonshine maybe illegal but it is quality booze. Gets my vote.

    Bob

  23. scott c kimball says:

    sounds like popcorn is a national treasure that should be saved. hope things work out for a good old boy. scott

  24. kyle says:

    Hey Popcorn, what made you want to start making moonshine? isnt it kind of dangerous to make?

    Thanks,

    Kyle

  25. Mike says:

    Well Old Popcorn Sutton took his life instead of a 8month sentince in jail. And Im sure he did it with a finger flying for those who needed it!! Some called him a law braker, some called him a hero. And he came to be a legend in his own time. Some laws are made for brakeing. And hell you got to do what you love, on your own terms if you got the balls. I tip my hat to Popcorn. Rest in peace. As for his book. The only copy I have found was on Amazon $400 plus for a first adition. Bet Popcorns sittin on high, sippin and laughing!!

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