March 22, 2009, - 8:20 pm

VIDEO-Big Govt Wipes Out a Taste of Americana: Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, Moonshiner, RIP, A Tragedy Brought to You by ATF/DoJ

By Debbie Schlussel
Yet again, a Saturday Wall Street Journal “Remembrances” column is filled with another interesting American personality, who isn’t well known, but his story is entertaining. And his ending is a sad testament to what America has become and how it picks its victims and perpetrators in the eyes of the law.
Apparently and sadly, Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton recently committed suicide rather than serve his second sentence in the federal pen for moonshining. I don’t know about you, but this Appalachian legend producing moonshine without a license wasn’t harming me, and it smacks more of big brother at work and big government over-regulating Americans literally to death than it does a crime that harmed society.
There is no justice when this harmless 62-year-old hillbilly was about to serve more time in federal prison, when Hezbollah’s CIA/FBI spy Nada Nadim Prouty won’t ever serve a day in prison.


Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, Rest in Peace

A scrawny, long-bearded mountain man with a foul mouth and a passing acquaintance with copper tubing and kettles, Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton seemed the embodiment of moonshiners of yore.
Brought up in rural Cocke County, Tenn., identified as one of four “moonshine capitals of the world” in the corn-whiskey history “Mountain Spirits,” Mr. Sutton learned the family trade from his father. The practice goes back to the Scots-Irish, who brought it to the New World, and it wasn’t illegal until after the Civil War, says Dan Pierce, chairman of the history department at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
“This is something that legitimately is an expression of the culture of this region,” Mr. Pierce says.
Like his forebears, Mr. Sutton had brushes with the law, and was first convicted of selling untaxed liquor in the early 1970s. He mostly kept out of trouble after that, though friends say his nickname came from an unfortunate encounter with a balky barroom popcorn machine. But he was well known as a distiller around his native Parrottsville.
He was a familiar figure at the Misty Mountain Ranch Bed & Breakfast in nearby Maggie Valley, N.C., wearing faded overalls and with a back stooped, he said, from decades of humping bags of sugar into the hills. He picked the banjo and serenaded guests on the inn’s porch. He helped decorate the $155-a-night Moonshiner suite at the inn with some still hardware.
Mr. Sutton put a modern spin on his vocation, appearing in documentaries and even penning an autobiography, “Me and My Likker.” Souvenir shops in Maggie Valley sold his video, “The Last Run of Likker I’ll Ever Make,” and even clocks with his image on them.
Other moonshiners have gone legit and cashed in; a former Nascar driver and moonshiner now offers Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon in Southern liquor stores. But Mr. Sutton insisted on earning a living the old-fashioned way, and in 2007, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives busted him with 850 gallons of moonshine, stored in an old school bus on his property.
He was convicted in 2008 and was due to report to prison Friday, his widow, Pam Sutton, told the Associated Press. Instead, facing the verdict and ill health, he was found dead by Ms. Sutton at the age of 62 on Monday, and authorities suspect carbon-monoxide poisoning, according to the AP. The Cocke County district attorney’s office said it is investigating the death.
Although Tennessee was once a hotbed of moonshine and federal “revenuers” pursued bootleggers through the hills, an attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Greeneville says he couldn’t remember the last federal prosecution of a moonshiner.
“Modern-day moonshining is the manufacture of methamphetamine,” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg L. Sullivan says. “Tennessee is in the top five states nationally.”
Ms. Sutton discovered her husband in his green Ford Fairlane. “He called it his three-jug car,” she told the AP, “because he gave three jugs of liquor for it.”

I bet the ATF agents who busted Popcorn Sutton must feel real proud of themselves, while real threats in the ATF&E catogories are rampant around America. Way to go.
This 62-year-old man wasn’t a threat in any way. But, hey, why go after terrorists, armed robbers, drug dealers, and illegal aliens, when you can go after this poor, helpless guy from Appalachia just trying to survive. Sickening.
Rest in Peace, Popcorn Sutton, a genuine human specimen of Americana.
As far as real moonshiners from the hills go, you were “The Last One” (the title of the Sucker Punch Pictures documentary on Sutton).
Watch this video and see if you think this poor old man deserved prison time. Look at the guy. He was only 62 and looks like he’s in his nineties. Clearly he’s lived a hard life and is a victim, not a perpetrator.

12 Responses


yonason on March 22, 2009 at 9:11 pm

I imagine his crimes were much more serious than moonshining. His crimes probably included being
-Loving Freedom and the America that used to be.
-a gun owner
-a Christian
-independent by nature
and NOT:
-driving a hybrid prius
-belonging to acorn
-reporting his carbon footprint to the messiah or his green nazis.
-being employed by the government which is fully compromised with communists and jihadis – who contribute NOTHING to the GDP and live off *OTHER’S* sweat through taxes.

Spotswoode on March 22, 2009 at 9:20 pm

The “Dukes Of Hazzard” TV show featured moonshiners trying to stay out of the Fed clutches. There are still real life moonshiners who believe freedom means keeping the government out of your sill. Its not like they ran hard drugs! Sadly, we won’t see the likes of Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton in this country again. They made it great – and free!

NormanF on March 22, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Wow, this brings back memories. My dad’s originally from Kentucky, and his great-uncle was a moonshiner. The moonshiner’s son, my dad’s Uncle Paul, was the one who ran the stuff past the cops. Bought the car, souped it up and ran circles around the police. These are the roots of the NASCAR races. Uncle Paul considered NASCAR a “3-ring circus”, because they were corporate-sponsored professional drivers who didn’t even work on their own cars.
Every time I use one of the little driving tricks he taught me I always say a quiet “Thanks, Uncle Paul”.

mplumb on March 23, 2009 at 12:04 am

People like Marvin Sutton made the American dream, and people like them i.e. ATF, Fedral agencies, their leaders and the politicians making the American nightmare.
What an end?

Daniel on March 23, 2009 at 12:12 am

He was featured in two documentaries from the History Channel one was called “Hillbillies” the other was called “Moonshiners” you should see how smug and serious the ATF were when they tried to arrest the Moonshiners. Just sickening!!!

OneIrishJew on March 23, 2009 at 12:12 am

What a POWERFUL Goverment we have that IGNORES MUSLIM TERRORISTS/EXTREMISTS/ILLEGAL ALIENS and is “hell bent” on Prosecuting an elderly White Male American Citizen.
Marijuana is now “off limits” but NO moonshine, since it is made by White Males American Citizens with hardcore Religious Beliefs, MUST be stopped!
COWARDS they are COWARDS who pick on the weak and don’t have the GONADS to go after REAL THREATS!
They would NEVER do this in California “aka Potheads-R-Us”…because it is not “politically correct”.
This news makes me SICK but THANK YOU (again) Debbie Schlussel for your excellence in news choices!
Take care and God bless.
Jeffrey Schrembs, American Citizen

Nostradamus on March 23, 2009 at 2:27 am

Moonshine is made and sold everywhere that corn grows. However, it is usually sold within extended families and reliable associates. I have never heard of it being sold out of the back of a truck. It is usually mixed with other liquor because it is flavorless, and too potent – for most – on its own. Governments don’t go after it to protect the public; they go after people who cost them tax revenues.

supercargo on March 23, 2009 at 3:29 am

never knew moonshiners still existed

mindy1 on March 23, 2009 at 7:00 am

There is no justice when Irwin Schiff is illegally thrown in jail for telling the truth about the so-called income tax. The income tax is voluntary and the government breaks the law to enforce this phony tax.
With all these tea parties going on, no one acknowledges the debt and courage deserved to Irwin Schiff for writing such books as “The Great Income Tax Hoax,” explaining the Supreme Court cases on the income tax and how a person understanding those cases cannot be willful as regards to either non filing or filing zero income tax returns.
And if some people say that what Mr. Schiff says is untrue, while Irwin Schiff was illegally thrown in jail, Atty. Cryer, who didn’t file, is not in jail and beat the IRS in court (along with Whitey Harrel; etc.).
Here is Irwin Schiff’s website:
Learn the truth! “Be strong and of good courage.”
In a recent conversation with an official at the Internal Revenue Service, I was amazed when he told me that, “if the taxpayers of this country ever discover that the Internal Revenue Service operates on 90% BLUFF, the entire system will collapse.”
Senator Henry Bellmon (1969)

Underzog on March 23, 2009 at 8:03 am

Yet Mexican drug smugglers waltz across the border like Fred Astair.

Tempus Fugit on March 23, 2009 at 9:32 am

We are living in a fascist police state run by elitists that steal money from the tax payers and give it to Rockefeller Banks and stock traders that make up the New World Order.
The War on Drugs has and is unconstitutional ever since they passed the Harrison Act which attempted to do an end run around the constitution.There is nothing in our Constitution that gives the Federal Government the right to limit our oral intake whether it be Marijuana or apples.We tried prohibition and it did not work nor has the War on Drugs.
America is waking up and there just may be another revolution if the elites do not stand down.After generations of resisting communism, we have allowed a socialist foreign national to become president.
In that regard, I believe that the time to ìrefresh the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrantsî has arrived. This reality is no longer in doubt. It is not the wild ranting of a few paranoid gun nuts, either.
The United States government has chosen to abandon its first obligation to the people, that is, the defense of the borders and security for its citizens. It is the chief reason government exists at all.
The ignorant and failed president George W. Bush let our borders languish for eight long years. The sex pervert Bill Clinton did the same for eight more years.
CFR insider and CIA stooge George H.W. Bush did no better. They all did it because it was a planned conspiracy by the Globalists to merge our North American nations after destroying them from within.
And now we have the savior of the socialist world, Barack (foreign born, one-world advocate, baby killing, terrorist coddling, black radical following, CFR team leader) Obama selling out not only our nation, but our borders as well.
Everday I wake up to the news that another bail out or Grand Theft is being perpetrated on the Citizens of this country by an elite in our Federal Government.

ScottyDog on March 23, 2009 at 1:19 pm

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