Alabama Charlie 2015-08-26 01:41:38
Popcorn’s Gone, But His Famous Backwoods Moonshine Is Now Legal Some of the most legendary moonshine ever made can now be purchased legally all across the South, under the name of Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey.For those who haven’t seen the cult classic films or heard the Hank Williams III song based on his legacy, Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton was the undisputed king of illegal liquor.He made no attempt to hide the fact that he was making large quantities of moonshine in the backwoods just outside Parrotsville, Tennessee, not far from the North Carolina state line. Sutton wrote an autobiography and made a video showing others how to produce what was widely considered to be some of the best “likker” around, according to news reports and a documentary about his life. Friends and family all agree that Popcorn, a name he earned after taking a pool cue to a bar’s balky popcorn machine in the 1960s, lived on his own terms, did what he pleased and said what he felt like saying, with little regard for decorum or etiquette. In 2008, federal authorities caught up with Sutton and charged him with, among other things, illegally distilling spirits. According to Federal agents, at the time of the arrest, they had found one of the largest moonshine operations – more than a thousand gallons – they had ever seen. Sutton was convicted and sentenced to eighteen months in prison, but just days before he was to begin serving time in March 2009, he committed suicide. Sutton’s love for good spirits and good times would soon be validated, however.About eighteen months later, country music legend Hank Williams Jr. , along with Sutton’s widow Pam and Jamey Grosser of J&M Concepts, began production on the legal version of the famous brew.The whiskey is reportedly produced in stills that were built from Sutton’s original designs and using Sutton’s family recipe. At the marketing launch for the product, a number of country music artists were on hand, including Martina McBride, Zac Brown, Little Big Town, Lee Brice, and appropriately enough, outlaw country rockers The Kentucky Head hunters. Headhunter drummer Doug Phelps talked to Blacktie Motorsports about the launch, explaining that Williams summoned dozens of country music’s biggest stars to Tennessee for an unnamed, mysterious event.Upon arrival, they were all promptly loaded on a bus with blacked out windows, and never told where they were headed. Eventually, between sips of crystal clear whiskey, the true nature of the excursion became apparent. “It was a good time and some really good moon shine,” Phelps said. Parrotsville, population 263, and nearby Newport were the first locations where Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey could be purchased, but it is now available at most liquor stores around the South. In an ironic twist, although Sutton had faced federal charges, recent changes in Tennessee law have made it legal to produce and sell moonshine for public consumption. Even now, decades after he first made headlines with his rebellious attitude and true redneck spirit, Popcorn Sutton’s notoriety lives on. His tombstone sums up his infamous and infectious view of life: “Popcorn Said %@#$ You.”
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