Moonshiners (TV series)
|Narrated by||Jeremy Schwartz|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Original network||Discovery Channel|
|Original release||December 6, 2011– present|
Moonshiners is an American docudrama television series on the Discovery Channel that dramatizes the life of people who produce (illegal) moonshine in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The series dramatizes their liquor production efforts, law-evading techniques and life. There have been claims by local officials that the show is not what it portrays to be. Virginia authorities have stated that no illegal liquor is actually being produced by the people depicted in the show. The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) said in March 2012 that, "If illegal activity was actually taking place, the Virginia ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement would have taken action." They also said that they had requested for the producers to add a disclaimer to clarify that the show was only a dramatization, "but the request was overlooked", and the show's producers, Magilla Entertainment, have stated their documentary content is real.
Portions of the show that feature Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton were taken from a documentary film by Neal Hutcheson. Hutcheson's documentary was filmed in 2002 and released the same year with the title This is the Last Dam Run of Likker I'll Ever Make. In 2008, a version of the documentary that was edited for television was broadcast on PBS and the Documentary Channel with the title The Last One, and it received a Southeast Emmy Award in 2009. Sutton was arrested in 2007 by ATF agents in Cocke County, Tennessee (led by Jim Cavanaugh of Waco siege fame) for illegally distilling liquor and possession of a handgun by a felon, and was sentenced to eighteen months in jail in 2009. He subsequently committed suicide, apparently to avoid serving the federal prison term, and because he had been diagnosed with cancer.
The show's first season premiered on December 6, 2011, and its second season premiered on November 7, 2012. Season 3 premiered on November 3, 2013. Season 4 premiered on November 4, 2014. Season 5's premiere date is November 17, 2015.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Average rating
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||7||December 6, 2011||January 4, 2012||2.76|
|2||15||November 7, 2012||January 30, 2013||3.03|
|3||13||November 5, 2013||February 4, 2014||2.53|
|4||14||November 4, 2014||February 3, 2015||2.00|
|5||17||November 17, 2015||March 8, 2016||1.85|
Season 1 (2011–12)
|Title||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|1||1||"Moonshine Season Starts"||December 6, 2011||2.832|
|Two partners (Tim and Tickle) scout for a site for their operation, and an ABC agent discovers counter-surveillance measures.|
|2||2||"Point of No Return"||December 7, 2011||2.856|
|Tim and Tickle begin operating their still for the first time, which goes smoothly until an emergency strikes; a law enforcement agent pursues a hot tip.|
|3||3||"The Law Comes Knockin'"||December 14, 2011||2.578|
|Equipment failure and an intruder threaten moonshiner Tim and his partner Tickle's first run of moonshine. Law enforcement agent Jesse Tate shuts down an illegal drinking establishment. Veteran moonshiner Popcorn Sutton shows his old-fashioned way of producing moonshine.|
|4||4||"Outlaw Brotherhood"||December 21, 2011||2.791|
|Moonshiner Tim and his partner Tickle fix up Tim's car and use it to transport some moonshine. A hurricane threatens their still site.|
|5||5||"A Price to Pay"||December 28, 2011||2.618|
|In the late fall, moonshiner Tim adds a second pot to the still site to double his profits. Tickle falls while working and breaks three ribs. Agent Jesse tries to arrest people.|
|6||6||"A Moonshiner's Farewell"||January 4, 2012||2.899|
|Popcorn Sutton dies. Tim and Tickle produce moonshine day and night, making more money than Tim has ever made before. Agent Jesse conducts reconnaissance of an active still site.|
|7||7||"Cannonball Run"||April 18, 2012||1.343|
|Tim and Tickle plan a risky midday transfer.|
Season 2 (2012–13)
|Title||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|8||1||"Rise 'n Shine!"||November 7, 2012||3.06|
|Moonshine season in Appalachia has begun. Tim and Tickle are starting to try to produce some moonshine. A new law enforcement officer, Deputy Sheriff Chuck, is introduced.|
|9||2||"Moonshine Goldmine"||November 14, 2012||2.23|
|Josh and Bill make progress building their underground still. Mark and Jeff build a new copper still and go into the mountains to establish a new site. Tickle lures Tim back to their illegal site.|
|10||3||"Moonshiner Vs. Hogzilla"||November 21, 2012||2.48|
|Mark and Jeff call in moonshiner Jim Tom to help fix their broken still. Mark hunts and kills a wild hog. Meanwhile, Deputy Sheriff Chuck gets a tip from a hunter that leads him to an abandoned site.|
|11||4||"Storm's a Brewing"||November 28, 2012||2.36|
|A storm hits the Carolinas, and Jeff, Mark and Jim Tom produce moonshine during the storm. Nearby, Josh and Bill experience the same storm and a flood threatens their underground still site. Then, Tickle does something. The episode includes news stories about some moonshining arrests, an ongoing tropical storm and Barney Barnwell's documentary.|
|12||5||"A Shiner's Last Stand"||December 5, 2012||2.19|
|Tickle splits from Tim, recruits Howard as a new still hand, and heads into the woods to find a new site. Mark, Jeff and Jim Tom begin work on a second still to make barley-based liquor, but needs his wife and son to run the second site. Deputy Sheriff Chuck meets a confidential informant to get information about the drop off location for an active moonshine operation. Josh and Bill make repairs to their underground still site.|
|13||6||"Prophecy Fulfilled"||December 12, 2012||3.43|
|Tickle builds a new still and does something around midnight. Josh gets angry when he damages the nearly completed underground still site. Mark and Jeff make a risky move when they sell some of their product in town. Jim Tom teaches Jeff's son Lance how to measure the alcohol content of moonshine.|
|14||7||"Tickle Goes Rogue"||December 19, 2012||3.65|
|Tickle goes it alone after his still hand Howard gets spooked by an intruder and disappears. Josh and Bill discover toxic black mold in their underground still site. Jeff's wife and son set up a second still to run barley scotch. Deputy Sheriff Chuck tries to catch moonshiners.|
|15||8||"Troubled Waters"||January 2, 2013||3.46|
|Tickle gets discovered by an angry landowner, while Tim devises a new hiding spot for his back-up stash of moonshine. Josh and Bill get into a bone-breaking fight at their new still site. Mark carries moonshine by canoe at night.|
|16||9||"Adios, Mr. Still"||January 9, 2013||3.30|
|Gunfire erupts in the bamboo patch just as Josh and Bill fire up their still for the first time in the season. Meanwhile, Jeff, Mark and Jim Tom make a batch of rye whiskey in the style of President George Washington. Tickle's still is sabotaged.|
|17||10||"Moonshine Treasure Hunt"||January 16, 2013||3.18|
|Tim hunts for 200 gallons of high-value 60-year-old moonshine at the bottom of a lake. Mark and Jeff encounter a thief stealing their moonshine. Mike and Tweedy hide moonshine under a pile of cattle manure. Tickle has some interaction with his old still hand Howard.|
|18||11||"Hat in Hand"||January 23, 2013||3.17|
|In debt to dangerous people, Tickle goes to Tim for help. Jeff, Mark and Jim Tom struggle with a nest of yellow jackets at their still site. Josh comes to Cutie Pie's rescue when she gets hurt at the underground still.|
|19||12||"Last Shiner Standing"||January 30, 2013||3.87|
|As Tim gets ready to go legal, Tickle loads the last batch of illegal moonshine into an RV's water tank to sell to waiting customers. Josh and Bill's above-ground still malfunctions, ending their season, but they find that their underground site is now mold-free and ready to use during the winter. Jeff, Mark, and Jim Tom run three stills at once, and Deputy Sheriff Chuck makes his move, arresting the suspect he pursued all season.
This episode was dedicated in memory of Darrin Lewis, Mike's brother.
|20||13||"Secret Summit Part 1"||February 6, 2013||N/A|
|In Part 1 of this special, the moonshiners meet in a secluded cabin for an interview with executive producer Matthew Ostrom. They talk about run-ins with the law, why they let the cameras in, making dynamite, and old proofing methods.|
|21||14||"Secret Summit Part 2"||February 13, 2013||N/A|
|In Part 2 of this special, the moonshiners meet in a secluded cabin for an interview with executive producer Matthew Ostrom. They talk about the moonshiners code, leading double lives, obsessive fans, and the perils of life at the still site.|
|22||15||"Tickle's Guide to Love"||February 14, 2013||N/A|
Season 3 (2013–14)
|Title||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|23||1||"Time to 'Shine"||November 5, 2013||2.52|
|It's the start of moonshine season! Moonshiners Jeff and Mark, and partners Josh and Bill hit the ground running. Meanwhile, veteran shiner Tim Smith will make a life-changing move, and Tickle is forced to realize that his time to shine has just begun.|
|24||2||"A Shiner in Kentucky"||November 12, 2013||2.02|
|Mark and Jeff clear their remote North Carolina still site, while an argument between Josh and Bill threatens to destroy their partnership. Tim has a tough time adjusting to moonshining in a legal Kentucky distillery, and Tickle takes a road trip.|
|25||3||"Swamp Shiners"||November 19, 2013||2.12|
|Mark and Jeff struggle to set up their remote still site, while Josh and Bill are desperate for cash to build a new copper still. Tensions run high in the Kentucky distillery with Tim and his partner Steve, and a new moonshiner appears in Mississippi.|
|26||4||"More Shiners More Problems"||November 26, 2013||2.72|
|Tim Smith hires a person with a checkered past to help at the distillery in Kentucky. Tickle learns how to make moonshine in a copper pot still from one of the best. In North Carolina, Jeff and Mark are surprised by an unexpected visitor.|
|27||5||"Hush Money"||December 3, 2013||2.78|
|In North Carolina, Jeff and Mark must pay hush money to the property owner of their still site, while veteran shiner Jim Tom helps Wayne perfect his moonshine recipe. In Virginia, Tickle encounters bad luck when he starts bootlegging his own shine.|
|28||6||"First Run"||December 10, 2013||2.47|
|Tickle bootlegs at night, while Wayne comes up with an ingenious drop-off plan for his own bootleggers. Equipment failure threatens the production of Tim Smith's legal moonshine, and Josh and Bill finally begin their first run of strawberry brandy.|
|29||7||"Blue Moonshine"||December 17, 2013||2.22|
|Josh and Bill are forced back to their day jobs after their shine runs blue. Chico, under financial stress, makes a hard decision that could risk it all. Tickle struggles to keep Tim's old territory supplied. Mark and Jeff move their liquor.|
|30||8||"Rival Shiners"||December 24, 2013||2.16|
|Tim reaches a milestone with his first bottled batch of shine. Jeff and Mark suspect a rival in their territory. Chico takes a risk that could cost him everything. Josh and Bill's only hope at financing their shine operation is to consider bootlegging.|
|31||9||"Bootlegging Blowups"||December 31, 2013||2.45|
|Tim enlists Tickle's help to investigate his new still hand, Chico. Josh and Bill take on new risks as they try to stay alive in the moonshine game, as bootleggers. Jeff, Mark and Lance look to take out the competition.|
|32||10||"Moonshine War"||January 7, 2014||3.02|
|Tickle goes undercover in Kentucky, to find out what Chico has been up to. Josh and Bill hit the open road, to bootleg shine at a music festival. But they soon hit a violent roadblock. Jeff, Mark and Lance look to take out the competition with one shot.|
|33||11||"Firewater"||January 14, 2014||2.65|
|Josh and Bill suffer the consequences of bootlegging. Darlene goes against her best instinct and lights up her still indoors. Jeff, Mark, and Lance find their competition is still out there. Tim takes final measures to protect his legal shine business.|
|34||12||"Aftershock"||January 28, 2014||2.77|
|Jeff and Mark look to cash in on one final run of the season. Tickle and Chico's still site is compromised. Mike is desperate to complete his New Orleans order, and turns to Darlene. Josh and Bill might get to sell some of their own liquor after all.|
|35||13||"Liquid Courage"||February 4, 2014||3.03|
|Jeff and Mark reach the ultimate roadblock. Deputy Chuck is hot on a trail. Josh and Bill might finally be back in the game. Mike takes a trip to finish off his biggest sale of the season. Tickle and crew attract unwanted attention.|
|–||–||"Road to the Shine"||November 5, 2013||1.25|
|The off season from moonshining provides the shiners some relief from the long hours of work and constant fear of getting caught. The moonshiners set aside their craft and carry on the other parts of their lives.|
|–||–||"Kick-off Summit"||November 5, 2013||1.91|
|The 'shiners gather in a secluded cabin to kick off the new season. The episode features new-season highlights and clues to what lies ahead. Josh and Bill go on an adventure to Kentucky, and fans get answers to their questions.|
|–||–||"Christmas Special"||December 10, 2013||2.08|
|–||–||"The Ballad of Jim Tom"||January 7, 2014||2.26|
|Jim Tom tells his story in song as he begins attempting to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a country music star.|
Season 4 (2014–15)
|Title||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|36||1||"Shine On"||November 4, 2014||1.77|
|Tim is on the run after his operation was set on fire. Jim Tom prepares for his second coming as a moonshiner. Tickle and Tyler take their partnership to a new level. Josh and Bill sell last year's surplus shine. Jeff and Mark survey an indoor still site.|
|37||2||"Moonshine Waterfall"||November 11, 2014||1.80|
|Tickle and Tyler need to fix a bad feed line and get back to work at the moonshine cave. Jim Tom and Roy build the still that will carry them to greatness. Josh and Bill are sidelined with a crushed still. Sheriff's Deputy Chuck gains ground on Lance.|
|38||3||"Bullet Proof"||November 18, 2014||1.88|
|Josh & Bill pick up the pieces of their broken still. Lance tries to brew a moonshine game changer as Sheriff's Deputy Chuck closes in. Tickle gets stranded miles from civilization. Tim sets out from Kentucky in search of greener pastures.|
|39||4||"Risky Whiskey"||November 25, 2014||1.61|
|Josh and Bill rebuild bigger and better. Lance takes a risk on a new kind of whiskey, while Jeff and Mark prep their indoor still site. Tickle and crew battle the elements in Kentucky. Tim gives the North Carolina distillery a backwoods makeover.|
|40||5||"Tennessee Rising"||December 2, 2014||2.05|
|Two former still hands of moonshine legend Popcorn Sutton emerge from the shadows. Tim learns that getting out of the illegal liquor business doesn't get you out of the woods. And a ton of work lies ahead for Mark and Jeff after a brush with the law.|
|41||6||"Moonshine Takedown"||December 9, 2014||2.03|
|Tickle nails down a stash spot. Josh and Bill butt heads in the backwoods. Jim Tom and Roy are back in action. Mark and Digger's still goes from old school to state-of-the-art. And Mark and Jeff put the bells and whistles on their new shine spot.|
|42||7||"White Lightning Wars"||December 16, 2014||1.74|
|Mark and Jeff feel the heat as the law closes in. Tim's plan to give a backwoods makeover to Troy's distillery will cost him big. The law cracks down on Josh and Bill. Tickle flirts with disaster as he tries to sell his Kentucky made white lightning.|
|43||8||"Liquid Assets"||December 23, 2014||2.149|
|Tickle has his hands full keeping track of his liquor and Chico and Tyler are becoming suspicious. Bill and Josh build an underground bunker to hide their shine. Tennessee shiners, Mark and Digger, test an invention that could revolutionize moonshining.|
|44||9||"Shine Jacked"||December 30, 2014||2.49|
|Josh and Bill have a close call with authorities; a new lawman visits two shiners in Tennessee.|
|45||10||"Moonshine River"||January 6, 2015||2.06|
|Josh and Bill have a triple batch run; Tickle makes a sacrifice to save his partnership; Tim is ready to see if the Asheville distillery can produce his moonshine.|
|46||11||"Shine Overboard"||January 13, 2015||1.69|
|The final weeks of shine season are here. Josh & Bill's liquor gets stuck six feet under. Chico & Tyler brew a sweet & sticky moonshine game-changer. Tickle gets trumped by his old buddy. And Mark & Jeff's first sale on the water ends in disaster.|
|47||12||"Bootleg or Bust"||January 20, 2015||2.07|
|Josh & Bill go into the water business to secretly sell their shine. Tim returns to Virginia to fill a huge last-minute order. Mark takes a second shot at delivering his liquor by boat. And Tickle's deal with a moonshine savior almost breaks down.|
|48||13||"Bros Before Hooch"||January 27, 2015||2.22|
|49||14||"The Shining"||February 3, 2015||2.65|
|–||–||"Kick-off Summit"||November 4, 2014||1.402|
|Tim, Tickle, Josh, Bill, Jeff and Mark gather at a secret location to count down the minutes to the new season premiere. Jim Tom surprises producers by making his debut at the roundtable. Then the guys let Tim be the judge of a moonshine taste test.|
|–||–||"Thanksgiving Summit"||November 25, 2014||0.946|
|The moonshiners gather at a secret location to discuss the season, Thanksgiving table etiquette, and how to bag a turkey Moonshiners-style, and share their favorite family recipes. Shiner Josh and sidekick Cutie Pie visit a legendary moonshiner.|
|–||–||"A Moonshiner's Christmas"||December 9, 2014||1.586|
|The Shiners share they Christmas recipes.|
|–||–||"Road to Nashville, Vol. 1"||December 30, 2014||1.775|
|Jim Tom embarks on an adventure, ending up in Music City, U.S.A.|
|–||–||"Road to Nashville, Vol. 2"||January 6, 2015||1.414|
|–||–||"Secret Summit: Outlaw Confessions"||January 13, 2015||1.069|
Season 5 (2015–16)
|Title||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|50||1||"American Spirits"||November 17, 2015||1.76|
|Moonshine season is in session. Shine is in demand and the law is on the hunt. Tim faces a dilemma that jeopardizes his legal business. Jeff, Mark and Lance aim to double their profits while the law threatens to end Josh and Bill's season early.|
|51||2||"Whiskey Burn"||November 24, 2015||1.58|
|It's the first weeks of shine season and outlaws are eager to turn a profit before the cops close in. Josh & Bill's first run leaves a bitter taste. Jeff, Mark, & Lance scope out the competition as Mark & Digger come up with a revolutionary still design.|
|52||3||"Gone A-Rye"||December 1, 2015||1.65|
|Shiners attempt to stay off the grid as the outside world encroaches on the backwoods. Tim breaks the news about the fate of Climax Moonshine. Jeff, Mark and Lance search for a new site before rivals can grab hold of the market.|
|53||4||"Still Life"||December 8, 2015||2.12|
|Shine season is in full swing as Josh & Bill find themselves with no still, no home base and no shine. Mark & Digger enlist a whiskey legend to find out why their first run went awry. Mark, Jeff & Lance undertake construction on an ambitious still site.|
|54||5||"Rain or Shine"||December 15, 2015||1.57|
|Weeks into moonshine season, Josh & Bill race to finish their still site and make their first run. Intruders interrupt Mark & Digger's rye test. A deadly disaster leaves Tim rattled and rethinking his plans to expand.|
|55||6||"A Very Moonshiners Christmas"||December 22, 2015||1.98|
|It's Christmas in Appalachia! And whether it's gathering with friends and loved ones, giving yuletide alms, creating new flavors of shine or forging new traditions, these shiners are embracing the holiday spirit.|
|56||7||"Scotch on the Rocks"||December 29, 2015||1.7|
|It's one step forward and two steps back for Josh and Bill as they near the completion of their bunker. Meanwhile, Jeff, Mark and Lance are $6000 in the hole after losing a batch of mash before starting work on their Highland Scotch.|
|57||8||"Six Feet Undercover"||January 5, 2016||1.92|
|Mark and Digger, with help from Jim Tom, craft 150 gallons of brandy using their revolutionary still pot design. Now, it's just a matter of getting their shine into the hands of their eager customers.|
|58||9||"Out On A Limb"||January 12, 2016||2.04|
|In North Carolina a behemoth threatens to undo months of construction for Josh and Bill. A nocturnal prowler threatens Patti and David's clandestine operation and battle lines are drawn in Kentucky as Chico and Tyler clash over creative differences.|
|59||10||"Trouble Brewing"||January 19, 2016||1.80|
|With summer winding down, shiners are doubling their efforts to turn a quick profit. Tim Smith traverses the Atlantic, to Poland, on his quest to dominate the international shine market, but his pitch could be lost in translation.|
|60||11||"Caved In"||January 26, 2016||2.04|
|After coming to blow with Bill, Josh fears he may have finally gone too far. Patti and David aim to make up for lost time with a scorching new brew but alarm bells have them running for the hills.|
|61||12||"Cherry Bounce"||February 2, 2016||1.99|
|It's the final weeks of summer and shiners are putting it all on the line. Tim must create a way to fill a massive international order and it's judgment day in Virginia as Tickle puts on a brave face for court.|
|62||13||"Shine 'Til You Drop"||February 9, 2016||2.08 |
|The stakes get higher as shine season nears its end. Mark and Digger leave disaster behind for a new still site as Patti and David's jalapeno whiskey drives them to sell in unfamiliar territory.|
|63||14||"Still Regretting"||February 16, 2016||2.08 |
|Josh is down his right hand and his right hand man. Snags at the distillery have production at a halt and Tim's future in jeopardy. Chico and Sandra set out on horseback for some mountain shining. Patti and David rush to run before hunting season begins.|
|64||15||"Virgin Whiskey"||February 23, 2016||1.76 |
|Chico & Sandra are anxious to get back in the saddle and make their first run. Tim's behemoth tank might not be the ticket to fulfilling the Poland order after all . With Jim Tom by his side, Josh churns out a family heritage spirit.|
|65||16||"Presidential Shine"||March 1, 2016||1.59 |
|Patti and David rush to sell off their stash before a local fracking operation ends their season in a bust. Jeff, Mark and Lance hope that a classic recipe will save their season. A calling card from the law may bring Mark & Digger's season to an end.|
|66||17||"End of an Era"||March 8, 2016||1.85 |
|It's last call in shine country. Tim is thousands of cases of moonshine away from delivering the order of a lifetime. Mark & Digger receive the surprise of their lives in the middle of a shine sale. Josh is working on one last score and making amends.|
Key:indicates a season in which a person appeared
|Cast||Role||Season 1||Season 2||Season 3||Season 4||Season 5|
|Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton||Moonshiner|
|Jesse||Law Enforcement Agent|
In May 2013, it was announced that, in addition to renewing Moonshiners for a third season, Discovery Channel would be purchasing a spinoff about Steven Ray Tickle, to be called Tickle. The series premiered on August 13, 2013.
- "About Show : Moonshiners : Discovery Channel". Dsc.discovery.com. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
- "Virginia Authorities Claim Show 'Moonshiners' Doesn't Show Illegal Moonshining". Fox News. December 30, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
- Meagan Murphy. "'Moonshiners' Producer Stands By Show's Accuracy in Face of State's Claim Show Is a Hoax". Fox News.
- "The Last One – Popcorn Sutton Documentary – Special Edition (2012)". Retrieved April 25, 2013.
- The Last One – Popcorn and moonshine in North Carolina, The News & Observer, December 11, 2008.
- Popcorn Sutton Documentary Wins Emmy Award, The News & Observer, June 30, 2009.
- Tom Landess (June 1, 2009). "Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton, R.I.P.". Archived from the original on November 3, 2011.
- "Moonshines: Discovery Channel". Retrieved October 11, 2013.
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