“Moonshiners”: 100-proof entertainment

popcornA friend at work recently urged me to watch Moonshiners, a new show on the Discovery channel.

I’m hooked.

The reality series chronicles modern-day bootlegging, following the exploits of several groups of clandestine liquor makers in the hollers of Appalachia.

Need a retreat? Moonshiners is about as far back in the sticks as you can get.

The characters go by names such as Jim Tom, Digger and Tickle, and some speak in dialects that require subtitles. Also, overalls without an undershirt seems to be a common fashion statement.

But don’t let background noise fool you. These are no rubes.

They are businessmen pulling down six figures a year.

Of course, screwing Uncle Sam out of his taxes takes stealth. That is why much of the show focuses on the primary fear of every outlaw: getting caught.

The rural entrepreneurs squat in only the most secluded locations, building elaborate bunkers with camouflaged canopies to avoid aerial detection. If so much as a hunter happens by and notices the operation, stakes are immediately pulled up and moved.

“Ain’t nothing easy about making moonshine,” one of the characters says. “Even if you ain’t got the law on your back, even if you’ve got all the ingredients, even if you’rer a plumber, pipefitter, welder, chemist, it’s still a lot of work to make moonshine.”

The show mixes in the color of the Blue Ridge Mountains with historical context about the country’s alcohol culture. That is much of the series’ appeal.

So if you’ve ever used a Mason jar for more than canning pickles, you may want to devote an hour of your week to Moonshiners.

It’s a good buzz.





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