15 Behind-The-Scenes tricks You Didn't Know about Moonshiners Moonshiners insurance claims to let viewers acquire an inside look in ~ the illegal manufacturing of moonshine -- however what"s yes, really going ~ above behind the scenes?



If you a pan of docudrama style reality TV shows, you’ve probably come across Moonshiners. Millions of human being have tuned right into watch moonshiners in states choose Tennessee, Virginia, and Louisiana develop their very own brands of moonshine... Illegally.

You are watching: How real is the show moonshiners

Whether they desire to learn an ext about the background and society of moonshine or are just entertained through the relationship the actors members have actually with one another, the viewership of Moonshiners has actually stayed pretty strong.

Of course, once you’re talking about a show that insurance claims to portray illegal task each week, there room bound to be a lot of of secrets that room swept under the rug. Even a show that insurance claims to be around people continually on the run from the legislation doesn’t desire too much trouble.

From cast members getting arrested to claims that the display isn’t even real, Moonshiners has its same share of reality TV drama walk on even when the cameras room off.

Which actors members have obtained in trouble with the law? Is the present as real as it cases to be? find out with these 15 Behind-The-Scenes secrets You Didn"t Know about Moonshiners.


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im smith Confessional Moonshiners
The present wants viewers to feel choose they’re getting a genuine look into the experience of illegal moonshiners. Occasionally, the characters on the display are stopped by legislation enforcement when cameras are rolling. They nearly always are enabled to go (or drive) away, but it does make for a good moment of tension throughout the show.

However, no every regulation enforcement interaction is caught by the Moonshiners cameras. In bonus footage, Tim smith admitted the police officers tried to face him about the present one evening as soon as he to be at home.

They carried stills indigenous the display to "prove" the he’d to be moonshining illegally. Tim maintained his cool, though, and also just invite them come come in and sit down due to the fact that he was about to have dinner.


Virginia ABC
If girlfriend watched season among Moonshiners, you probably remember special agent Jesse Tate. He operated for the Virginia abc Bureau and also appeared routinely throughout the an initial season. If you pay attention, though, he never ever actually interacts with civilization like Tim and Tickle, the 2 of the main world on the series. Why?

It turns out that Tate to be misled about the nature of the show. He had actually no idea that it was going come be showing moonshine production or circulation -- the Bureau had thought that exploration was make a show about the history of moonshine and moonshine circulation in the state.

Needless come say, the state that Virginia was not happy as soon as the first season that Moonshiners aired ~ above television. Tate additionally never showed up on the display again. Wonder why?


Moonshiners Fake
In the same press release wherein they claimed to it is in misled about the nature that the show, Virginia authorities slammed exploration for airing a false, misleading show.

After viewers preserved asking why the state was permitting a crime to take place, Virginia said that the present was not actually showing illegal moonshine, however was actually just a dramatization. Lock asked exploration Channel to include a disclaimer, but their request was “overlooked.”

Cast members the the show proceed to to speak the opposite, though. They case that the state is just mad the they haven’t to be able to capture them. Because agents would have actually to capture the cast in the act of producing illegal moonshine to have a instance -- which castle haven’t yet -- they deserve to keep make the show.

12 Tim’s day project as a Fire Chief brought about problems


Tim Moonshiners goes Legal
as soon as you’re top top a reality TV show, girlfriend invite a details amount that scrutiny right into your life. Tim learned that conveniently once viewers establish what that did throughout the day.

Illegal moonshining wasn’t the only resource of revenue for Tim. Once he no evading police supplies to run mystery stills, he operated as a Fire cook of the orgasm Volunteer Fire department in Virginia.

Most human being think the firemen as upstanding members that society, so part viewers had problems with Tim going indigenous one on-the-level job to operation something the was possibly harmful. For the most part, though, his audience no seem to treatment what the does during the work as long as that keeps cultivating the TV show.


Viewers who have actually been through the show since the very first season more than likely remember the sometimes clip the Popcorn Sutton. Sutton was one of the most famous moonshiners, for this reason famous, in fact, that he also had a couple of documentaries made around him. (One that them winner an Emmy.)

Sutton was lucky sufficient to largely evade the law for decades, until he said an undercover officer the he had actually over nine hundred gallons the illegal moonshine the he was ready to sell.

They weren’t around to let the stand, that course, and ATF police officers raided his residential or commercial property in March. He to be charged v illegally distilling soul (shocker) and also possession of a handgun as a felon. Sutton pled guilty and was sentenced come eighteen months in prison the adhering to January.

10 Virginia refuse Tim a legitimate moonshine license


together long-time viewers that the present know, Tim no longer needs to hide his moonshining. The is now proudly may be to sell his moonshine legally, which he helps will assist him in his effort to keep the legacies and society surrounding moonshine.

Climax moonshine is produced in Virginia, however it an extremely nearly wasn’t. Together Tim was beginning up his distillery, rumors flew the the Virginia ABC almost denied him a license to produce moonshine legally.

Whether they were angry the he’d averted punishment because that so long for "shining" illegally, or if they simply didn’t think he had what the took, we’ll never ever know. However, whatever the worry was, it’s clearly been resolved since you deserve to now bespeak Tim’s moonshine virtual on the alphabet website.


The president isn’t the only reality TV star who had actually his eye on politics. Stephen Tickle, a pan favorite on the show, likewise admitted that he considered going right into politics -- long before Donald Trump ever threw his hat right into the ring because that president.

Back in 2013, Tickle stated in an interview v a local paper that he was considering running for a state office in southern Virginia. That realized the the display was providing him a bigger platform and wanted to use that to do a hopeful change.

This was a quite honorable goal. He never ever did get roughly to it, though, since there to be a range of points that acquired in his way. More on the later.

8 Chico was allegedly arrested for a DUI


Popcorn Sutton wasn’t the only member of Moonshiners who had issues with the law for something various other than the illegal moonshining the team is so infamous for. In 2015, Chico was allegedly arrested because that a DUI in Knott County.

The report claims that he drove his car into a crowd, after i beg your pardon the officer do him take a field sobriety test...which he failed. No one was hurt, yet the officer still claimed that Chico shouldn’t have been driving and also ordered that to show up in court.

Unlike Popcorn Sutton, though, Chico no get any jail time. His attorney to be able to aid him walk away with simply a fine and court costs.

Maybe the charm that’s aided Chico acquire so far additionally helped him out in court?


prior to he to be a moonshiner, josh Owens supplied to be a professional motorbike and motocross racer. He still rides his motorcycle top top the present with his dog, Cutie Pie. Viewers can like Cutie Pie better than they prefer Josh, honestly.

He tho loves motorcycles, and also he was coming ago from a motorcycle rally critical August when he uncovered that his trailer had captured on fire. It no look choose he’d be able to recover the trailer or any kind of of his belongings, and also his truck was damaged as well.

Investigators weren’t certain what had actually caused the fire. We hope the Josh’s other moonshiners were able to assist him get earlier on his feet after that.

6 The display was claimed to be around legal moonshine


there’s one question that virtually everyone has actually after watching an episode of Moonshiners: how on planet are they not caught? it seems like if you’re being filmed make illegal moonshine, you’d probably obtain in problem for it.

The producers had the same thought, therefore the display was actually claimed to be around legal moonshine production. It seemed too risky to make a show about illegal moonshine production and not acquire everyone associated in trouble.

The initial pitch come the network was about legal distilleries the exist. Over there was simply one problem -- they realized it to be going to be boring. There to be no means that they would have gained the viewership numbers the they perform now.

Adding Tim, who was able to take the cameras into the woods and offer an within look at something that had been therefore secret, to be what really took the present to the next level.


Some people still aren’t persuaded that whatever that they watch on Moonshiners is real. If castle pay attention to the manufacturing credits, the production firm might it is in one reason why.

Moonshiners is produced by Magilla Entertainment, a company based in new York. Lock responsible for a lot of well-known reality TV shows currently dominating the air waves -- yet they’re likewise behind a many deceptive “scripted reality” shows.

Long Island Medium is slammed because that being fake practically every time the mentioned. Magilla also produces things favor Lakefront bargain Hunt, where some participants in reality bought their residence years before the display was taped, and also Southie Rules, which to be painfully scripted.

With those credits, it’s no wonder why people are suspicious of Moonshiners.

4 Tickle has actually been arrested at the very least three times


bad Tickle hasn’t to be able to capture a break.

He hasn’t just been arrested once, but at the very least three times. First, he was arrested because that public intoxication. Climate he was arrested for possession the a sawed-off handgun, i m sorry a police officer found in the front chair of his car. After that, he to be arrested again for probation violation, after he admitted to drug use.

He was originally given a suspended three year sentence in July 2016 because that the shotgun. ~ his probation violation, a judge revoked the original sentence however made him serve 5 months of active time.

After his five months were up, he had actually twelve months of probation and has to be on "good behavior" because that the next 5 years. Hopefully, he’ll be maybe to stay ~ above the best path.


return he’s to be lucky enough to keep his criminal document clean, star Tim smith is no stranger to regulation enforcement crackdowns, either. The learned the after-effects of being caught early. He skilled his first raid at 5 years old, once police police officers were investigate his father.

Smith defined in an interview that when the police verified up, he had to try and hide the illegal moonshine indigenous the authorities. It is a lot of responsibility to location on a five year old kid, and it left a huge enough impression ~ above him that he still talks about it to this day.

His dad must have actually taught him well, though, due to the fact that he managed to protect against the police long sufficient to eventually become a legitimate moonshiner.

2 Sutton ended his life prior to the display premiered


Popcorn Sutton never ever did offer the months in prison the he to be sentenced to. Casual viewers may not have realized that he ended his own life years prior to Moonshiners ever premiered. The clips that the show uses room from a documentary filmed in 2002 that cemented his ar as a bootlegging legend.

Sutton wasn’t around to serve time in jail. His daughter told his wife that he had actually said in development that the would rather die. Rather of reporting for his eighteen month sentence, he ended his very own life via carbon monoxide poisoning simply days prior to his sentence was an alleged to begin.

While some civilization object come the present using Sutton’s likeness once he obviously wasn’t about to give permission, rather think that it’s only right for him to it is in included since he to be such a big figure in the moonshining community.


Is everything that we check out on Moonshiners genuine or is several of it staged because that the cameras? exploration isn’t talking.

Fans who are curious about what they’ve simply watched can scan the credits because that a small-print disclaimer admitting that every little thing is not as it seems. Castle wouldn’t uncover anything, though -- discovery refuses to put a disclaimer in the credits.

The actors isn’t about to to speak anything, one of two people -- mostly due to the fact that they can’t. They’re contractually obligated no to get details about what is or no true top top the show.

They’ll talk about how the show could be gaining away with mirroring illegal activity, or say that they’re every illegal moonshiners in real life, yet don’t outright check or deny that some scenes might be staged.

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What do you think? Is Moonshiners a genuine look at moonshining, or is it mostly a dramatization? permit us understand in the comments!


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Lauren Wethers is a freelance writer based in brand-new Orleans. She has actually been writing professionally since 2013, concentrating on politics and pop culture. She writing has actually been featured in USA this day College, Huffington Post, and also Kicker, and various other sites and print publications. With a B.A. In English and Spanish, a young in movie studies, and an M.A. In English Literature, Lauren invested her time in college assessing literature and film in 2 languages. She happily proceeds to perform so now, even though there room no much longer essays due in ~ 11:59pm. When she’s not working on assorted freelance posts or blog posts, one deserve to usually uncover her editing and enhancing her novel, eating her method through brand-new Orleans, or overcoming the competition in ~ Harry Potter trivia nights. You deserve to follow her periodically hilarious think on Twitter
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