‘Moonshiners’ Show – More Real Than You Think?

Picture Courtesy of Discovery ChannelMany people believe the show ‘Moonshiners’ which airs on the Discovery Channel, is fake. They argue how can it possibly be real and be allowed to be shown on TV. They wonder why the people on the show aren’t being arrested. First of all, this IS America… have you seen the other shows that air? (Kardashians, anyone?) In that aspect alone, in a country that is enamored with the entertainment industry and celebrities, is it really that far fetched? Either way, this single quote has been all but enough to stop everyone in their tracks. It was made in 2011 when the show first started by Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) spokeswoman Kathleen Shaw. You can find the rest of her comments here.

“If illegal activity was actually taking place, the Virginia ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement would have taken action.”

Virginia State ABC Special Agent Jesse Tate, who in Season 1 was part of the show and shown hunting the moonshiners, added the following during a separate interview.

“Nobody in the whole series was actually making any liquor, we wouldn’t allow that. If we knew somebody was making liquor they would have been in the next episode in handcuffs.”

That was enough for people to stop asking questions. Where most people decide to believe anything a person in supposed “power” tells them (like corruption doesn’t exist among police or government, eh?) and moves on, I, do not. As per the nature of this blog and who I am, I’m one of the few who presses further and continues asking questions.

The premier star of the shows comments sure suggest otherwise. To understand why it would be real is to understand the law. ‘Moonshiners’ star Tim Smith explains the exact reason best. He was asked the very questions everyone else was asking about the show during an interview via phone by bourbonblog.com.

“With the laws in Virginia, and I’m pretty sure around anywhere else, you must be witnessed and physical samples of the product you’re producing has to be taken and analyzed – and all of this has to go to a court of law, and then that arresting officer has to testify in a court of law that he did that.”

For all the cops know, they ARE just distilling water. Video is not enough evidence to convict someone of a crime such as this. Although I can’t remember who said it, I believe it was in Season 2 where the officer explained this very thing in an episode. In another interview when Tim Smith was asked about the subject again, he said officers show up at his home at all hours of the day all the time hoping to find evidence either inside his house or on his property. But again, no evidence equals no arrest. It was also expressed that the show itself is taped a year or more in advance therefor leaving plenty of time and no trace of their actions by the time anyone after them would see the show. To that aspect, Tim responds with this.

“So how are you going to arrest me for moonshinin’ that I did five years ago?”

Virginia, and any other state, obviously doesn’t want to be made to look bad or that they are not doing their job. Thus gives a reason for the ABC to make those comments publicly. The show gives them a chance to show they indeed do care and are always actively looking for illegal activity. Regardless of what the ABC says, doing this show and lying about the authenticity, if real, would allow them to become more familiar with the practices illegal moonshiners employ when trying to stay hidden from the law. The stars will surely never use the same methods twice and they are among the best in their respected areas. This exchange of being in the public eye makes it much more difficult for all others not on the show doing the same. Many use similar methods of hiding their distilleries and product and now the law will be looking out for it. In a way the stars sold out a bit but at the same time their sacrifices are able to keep the love and art of moonshining alive through the show which is what it’s all about.

It’s worth noting that Special Agent Jesse Tate departed after the first season. Currently in season three, Tim Smith has moved off from Virginia to partner with a man named Steve at the Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky to help him make his dream of going legal a reality. You can read all about his moonshine ‘Climax’ (including where to buy) here. Deputy Sheriff Chuck of NC has taken over the law enforcement side of the show since season two. Virginia has all but been abandoned in the show. Ironically, the Virginia ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement also issued a statement saying if they knew how the show was being portrayed, they would have not participated. In other words, how it made them look bad. If you have been keeping up with season 3 you also saw that Virginia denied Tim the allowance to sell his ‘Climax’ moonshine in his very own home state. Considering he is chief of his local fire department and being well known in his community with much potential of making profits off of his name through his moonshine, the state of Virginia rather deny extra money in taxes than allow to sell his product. Is this personal? Sure as hell sounds like it to me. Take that how you want.

So real or fake? Would it really be so far fetched for it to be real? Both sides of the law benefit from this show, that much you can’t argue against. It’s clear that Tim Smith and the Discovery Channel producers worked closely with lawyers to make this show happen. In my opinion, you can’t disprove it’s authenticity as much as people and the internet want to. If your search for the answer leads you to the show’s wikipedia page (a site to remind you all, anyone can edit) and is enough for you to be satisfied, then you’re not keeping an open mind, folks.

Catch the show currently on Tuesdays, 9/8c on the Discovery Channel.


About Jon R.

Silly, serious & everything in between – that’s me in a nutshell. (Salty too… since I’m in a nutshell I might as well be suitably seasoned!) It’s apparent that I have a different way of thinking and seemingly have a talent for viewing things with a more independent perspective as well as an ability to perceive the objective nature of things more than most. Much like anyone else, I wish for the world to be more civilized and enjoyable for all. I’m full of ideas and love to improve things, and (un)fortunately the world has plenty wrong to offer. I’ve always been a problem solver and I love doing it. My endless ambition plus the urge to defend what’s right and bring reason has lead me to writing. With this I aspire to contribute some good to the world in order to help make it a better place. Regardless, all views are my opinion and not meant to offend anyone. While I seem to have the less popular point of view on things, I don’t represent any one side. I respect all sides and do my best to reflect on all fairly and within reason. I hope readers will find the content on this site interesting, and just maybe, will leave with a little more of an open mind.
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75 Responses to ‘Moonshiners’ Show – More Real Than You Think?

  1. phil says:

    Hidden cameras in the bushes ? The Law didn’t see them? its fake on really dumb cops.

  2. Lee McAdams says:

    When I first watched it, I could tell the shiners were for real. Very difficult for non-southern actors to fake those southern accents. I was born, raised, and lived my whole life in the deep south. Their attitudes and demeanor were definitely southern also. Almost impossible to act southern even if you could talk with the right accent. Their body language and the way the interact with their peers was genuine as well. My grandfather was a moonshiner in Mississippi. I could tell, especially in the early shows, they knew what they were doing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Come on! If Real moonshiners wouldn’t be doing this fucking show. Sure, the show itself wouldn’t be valid evidence in court, but they are showing their faces and apparently using their real names. You think an ACTUAL criminal would do that? You think they’re so fucking slick they can evade detection of both production and distribution when they’re under targeted surveillance? AND they’re are confident enough of this to risk it. And NONE of them have been caught and . Puh-lease. Get your head out of your ass.

    • Lee McAdams says:

      They’re real moonshiners. The locations they used were not their real ones and probably they didn’t use their real names. And they may not have been actually making real shine for the filming, but the processes were correct. My granddad was a moonshiner in Mississippi. Some of the interactions with law enforcement may have been staged. For the most part, these people are real moonshiners, but the show was tweaked so no real legal consequences occurred.

  4. Carol says:

    Been a loyal follower from the first season. However with the first two episodes season 2016-2017.
    I find Josh as well as Chico should be off the program. Constantly arguring and inmaturity is an insult to the program and to the viewers.
    One less viewer!

  5. Done with Discovery says:

    Of course its fake! It’s convienant that they have cameras everywhere shooting the show but they never get “seen” by anyone? How about the last episode when a guy in an ATV followed him back to the still without him knowing and came back later to steal the still? Ummm… The camera caught the guy on film, caught his 4X4 and covered his identity with a blur. Lol. If the guy was real, they could have tracked him down.

    This is a TV “SHOW” and nothing more than that. Discovery TV has become nothing more than a Jerry Springer “reality” TV network.

  6. Rod says:

    OK here’s what I think, first the Sheriffs Deputy is always getting close to busting them. Now if he would go home and watch Moonshiners he would no were their at and go bust them. second thing is you got to have a license to make moonshine or ATF would have already beat the Sheriff Deputy on arresting them and moonshiners would be on the news instead of a tv show.

  7. Joe Stanley says:

    Do not order a DVD about the Bootlegging movie made in Saluda from Phil Fox at Fox Heating & Air. (Spartanburg, SC) He takes the money from your credit card, via Pay Pal, but never delivers a product.

  8. steven mitchell says:

    Of course its fake. Tim Smith fired Chico because he was moonshining. And in the episode airing 3-15 Tim was helping his new help, Tyler , who was Chico s still partner, find a car for bootlegging and showing him how to drive evasive ly

  9. Anonymous says:

    The ATF makes it a job to catch people making illegal liquor. Specially, those who aren’t advertising it. If they were actually making illegal liquor on this show they would all be in jail.

  10. Kevin says:

    I’ve known them NC Carolina boys twenty years , I know Jim toms for real n those he’s dealt with, heard them stories n person as I tipped the jar.. I was 18 lol

  11. unknown says:

    Tell Bill’s pardner to name his racoon…Barney!

  12. CharlesLype says:

    Доброго времени суток, пользователи сайта. Расскажите – возможно кто-то из вас покупал шины или диски для машины в интернет магазине?
    Где лучше заказать?

  13. Chris Golladay says:

    I just so happen to be friends with all of these shiners. If you think that they cant make moonshine then let me tell you “YOUR WRONG”. Do they still make moonshine in the woods? Well depending on who you are and who you know will determine that answer. Is the show scripted well you are the audience so you have to determine that for yourself. And please let me add that they are some of the best down to earth and real country folks that you would ever want to meet in life. Im proud to call all of these guys my friends.

  14. Ron S says:

    I love this show,but IT IS REALITY tv folks,so it has to be scripted.If the cameras followed any of us around for a week,it would be a pretty boring show. As a former police officer,i can tell you that there is enough information given out about their locations,that we would be on them like white on rice. That episode with the private airplane making a moonshine run for the rich guy in Tenn and the fake bottled water truck in SC would be cuffed and stuffed within a day. It’s an interesting show to watch,but a lot of what they say about evading the law and hiding marked money with fake bank accounts is just pure B.S.! Those accounts that had “marked money” deposited in them would be frozen and the account holder(Tim) would be out his money!

    • Sean says:

      You might have a misconception on how the show works. The cameras don’t follow the guys around for a week, and then a show is made out of that. The cameras follow the guys around for a couple of months or so and then from the hundreds of hours of video shot, the producers and editors whittle it down to about 45 minutes of material for each new episode. There is not doubt hours and hours of boring stuff. By the way, if you’ve watched the show you’d see the cops have been on them like white on rice and had one of them pulled over with a truck full of shine, but the cop was the only one on duty that night and didn’t want to go through the bother of obtaining a search warrant when the driver refused to let him inspect the truck.

    • Troy says:

      What was shown on TV was footage that was recorded 8 to 12 months before. You think these guys would still be doing the same thing after the show aired?

  15. asskickmcgee says:

    Some things may be setup, like Jim Tom riding a moped to Nashville yet luckily Deputy Chuck shows up, but there are real facts you can check. Tickle got busted for public intoxication in Danville. Josh Owens got arrested by Campobello PD on the show yet I can find no official record just a history of traffic violations, trespassing and oddly lynching which I understand to be a mob attacking someone .

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