Saturday, April 28, 2007


One of our local celebrities had done been busted by the revenuers.

Famed author, Cocke county resident and moonshine expert Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton of "Me and My Likker" fame is scheduled to appear in court on May 9th to face charges for possession of untaxed liquor and possession of a still or operating parts of a still.

We aren't sure why everybody thinks he's from Maggie Valley...Popcorn Sutton stories are legendary and go far back in Cocke county. He does have an antique store and keeps an address there.

Seems that despite the numerous public declarations that he is only an expert at the fine art of illegal distilling and couldn't even lift a 25 pound bag of sugar or manage a still operation with his bad back an' all, that the smooth stuff Popcorn makes with such skill is still flowing. Or at least it was until just this past Wednesday.

Evidently, what happened is...one of his still sheds outbuildings on his property in Parrotsville caught afire while he was not home. The Cocke county fire department and the local volunteer fire department showed up to put out the blaze before it could burn up the rest of the buildings on the property. And then, of course, the sheriff's department shows up and it all went downhill from there.

Popcorn showed up and asked them very nicely not to tell anyone about the three large stills, assorted copper tubing, big bags of sugar and grain, and the many gallons of white corn likker found there. But they evidently didn't listen.

All in all, just another typical day in Cocke county.

I do feel sort of bad for Popcorn. He's really a moonshine artisan. The stuff he makes is a fine science and an art.

"If you ain’t got the proper equipment to start with‚ then you don’t need to get in the business‚ because you don’t need to kill a bunch of people and make ‘em sick‚” he said· “I wanted to make a product that they’d come back and see me when they got that drunk up."
Since the advent of meth labs and large scale marijuana growing operations in our fair county, fellows like Popcorn are a dying breed. They aren't making gobs of money doing this, it is purely for the art when made the way Popcorn makes his whiskey. He's really a national treasure of sorts.

This is his third run in with the law. The last one was in 1998.

Amazon doesn't have any copies of his book available right now, but you may be able to order them or any of his videos from : Popcorn Sutton‚ P.O· Box 382‚ Maggie Valley‚ N.C.‚ 28751·

31 Comments:

  1. chris said...
    Rosie, how come your big sistoo never guest-starred on "Miami Vice?" She probably would've been perfect for that show.
    Autumn said...
    I remember when I lived in Knoxville that a friend of mine from Lenior County talked about moonshine still going on. I guess somethings never change.
    Erica said...
    I have sampled the Corn Squeezin's, when I was down in Tennessee last summer, and Rosie, lemme tell ya Sweetness, no matter HOW it was made, and by whom, I will not ever be trying it again. Nearly made all the hair on my body fall off.
    Anonymous said...
    The old moonshiner that used to own all the land back in where I live- before he had to sell it all to pay hospital bills for his wife- used to put milk jugs in his tree if he had likker and hay strings if he had pot.

    These ol' boys would do well to pass along their skills at distillin' so's the young folks could go legit and make ethanol for us locals- some of the old guys are interested in doing just that.

    There's one I know who has beaten federal charges four times. They never got it to stick.

    goat yoda
    Housewife said...
    Holy crap, I want an autographed copy of that book.

    CNN - pfft, those mountains are much more full of news.
    Rosie said...
    Chris, MV was shot in a different market. I believe they did most of the shooing in Miami for that. I seem to recall her auditioning for it at one point. But I may be wrong.

    Erica, it varies widely depending on who makes it. The stuff I've had locally is pretty good. They are doing some odd things with flavorings these days...Appleshine, licorice flavored...mostly this sort of seems icky to me. Friend Scott has sampled most of this stuff. I like it to soak and make fruitcakes with, make vanilla extract and to make cordials and cough syrup. In a recent pot bust, they found jars of the stuff with pot steeping in it. The locals favor a marijuana tincture that they make with it. And with a few modifications...you can run your car with it. Very useful stuff.

    For the record, I have no direct contacts with the moonshiners. I generally have gentleman friends pick up my supply.

    I've been wanting to write about them, but I'm afraid I'd put any sources I might use in danger...so I'm not developing any contacts in this area.
    Mallow said...
    Should we start up a free popcorn petition for the man?

    I've always wanted to try some until I read Suttree.. the folks in that book drank what sounded like a concoction of kerosene and rubbing alcohol. I'm afraid I value my vision too much. Now, if YOU start making it I'd try it. :)
    Anne Johnson said...
    I don't understand it. I know a pagan who makes tons of mead and he's never been busted.
    Miss Sutton said...
    I'm always interested in how my father makes it into the news. This time he really made a splash! Feel free to check out my blog on him. : )
    Rosie said...
    Mallow, I don't know if he really needs a "free Popcorn" petition. I'll be interested to see what happens with the court case. Under normal circumstances he probably wouldn't get more than a slap on the wrist. But the county has been under intense scrutiny from the FBI and TBI for over five years. We have many colorful illegal activities here. The FBI came for the meth labs but stayed for the cockfighting. The local government has been under a great deal of pressure to clean up the corruption. So, I'm not sure what is going to happen to Popcorn.

    Honored to have you stop by Miss Sutton. I do understand the differences between your father, the man, and your father, the ersatz folk hero. Believe me...I've heard the stories. I think he very much appeals to people who love a rebel. And he is very colorful, you must admit.
    Miss Sutton said...
    Roadkill is often colorful, too.
    I am also able to separate my father from the legend that's been shored up around him. I think it's pathetic that this man is being defended. A REAL moonshining artisan wouldn't get caught by squeeling on HIMSELF. Marvin got caught by his own ego. He's not a legend- he's a myth.:)
    He'll be happy you blogged about his bust. He gets print outs of his on-line material brought to him so he should see this. Hi, Dad!
    seejanemom said...
    The daughter's got a blog. Now if that don't beat all. heh.

    SHE should sell his artful cook book...
    samuel said...
    I'm not quite sure how I missed the Cocke County connection when I read this new. I actually came back tonight to show my wife the asparagus pictures.

    I can't help but wonder how much actual moonshine they found versus how much will make it into evidence. This is Cocke County after all, the county where they bust you for drugs then sell your own drugs back to you while you're in jail.

    All this talk is making me want to go under the sink. I've got a jar gathering dust that might need a little attention.
    Rosie said...
    Hi Samuel, thanks for visiting. Yes, I publish from the heart of Cocke county. It's a wonderful place and I hope we can continue to scare away the developers.
    Anonymous said...
    I wish I had some likker now if they lock him up I hope he gets out before i run ooouuuttt
    christopher stuart bailey said...
    Let him go make what he wants if they had a tax on it it would be legal anyways and I love my likker run popcorn run
    Anonymous said...
    let him make as much likker as he wants if they had a tax on it it would be fine go popcorn go
    Anonymous said...
    I still have some of his shine in the cabinet
    Anonymous said...
    I was tourning with a band doing music festivals this past summer/fall, I have to say that out of all the places I have played not one person was known so well. EVERYBODY knew who Popcorn was and what he did. Right before we went on stage we were given a jug. AMAZING...
    Anonymous said...
    give names popcorn in your next book of goverment people you sell to.15 years is a death sentence for this man.he in no way deserves that.God bless popcorn.
    sssuperman said...
    Hi, Rosie, I am trying to find Mr. Popcorn Sutton's phone number. We are starting a moonshine operation in China and trying to preserve the art of moonshine making for a market with 1.3 billion people. We would like to bring him to China, making his moonshine more than legally for a market with 1.3 billion people.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/ls-moonshine-moonshine-whiskey--/story.aspx?guid=%7B832F470A-795C-4C92-80EE-46975709B721%7D
    (or google: ls moonshine)
    Rosie,I would highly appreciate it if you could help me to contact Mr. Sutton or his family.

    If anyone knows how to contact Mr. Sutton, please send me an email.

    Thank you all.

    Tong Li
    admin@lsmoonshine.com
    Halvis said...
    "One of our local celebrities had done been busted by the revenuers."

    revenuers suck. Like our federal government doesn't have better things to do. But we keep making them bigger and fatter, and creating new departments for them to run and staff. Defend the country, deliver the mail, I'm thinking that's about enough for them to handle.
    Ryan said...
    dam straight, popcorn should not be bothered
    Rorrye said...
    MY BLESSINGS AND PRAYERS GO OUT TO POPCORN SUTTONS FAMILY. MAY HE REST IN PEACE. MOONSHINE SKY BOUND MY FRIEND..GOD BLESS..AND NOW YOU ARE A LEGENED! ALL MY LOVE, RORRYE
    Q said...
    popcorn has gone from us. sad to hear that he died at home late last night.
    BIGRED08 said...
    I HOPE YOU BASTERDS ARE HAPPY NOW YOU HAVE DONE TOOK A DAMN GOOD MAN FROM US WHY BOTHER OLD TIMERS LIKE THIS I DONT CARE WHAT ANYONE HAD OR HAS TO SAY POPCORN YOU ARE THE MAN BE CAREFULL WITH THE SWEETNESS IN HEAVEN DONT GET ST.PETER TO DAMN DRUNK LIKE THAT DAMN BIG FROG LOL A TRUE REBEL CALLED HOME TO BE WITH GOD REST IN PEACE POPCORN YOUR MEMORY WILL LIVE ON IN US ALL
    chester said...
    it was a sad day in east tennessee on monday march 16 2009 this local legend was found dead in his car
    buckdoefawn said...
    East Tennessee has been robbed of a man who was a part of history. I met Popcorn a few years back, and I thought he was precious.. I never heard tale of any time he ever hurt a soul.. They should have just let him be to continue his craft. Well, I'm sure ole Popcorn knew he had many freinds and aquaintences that will be missing him. I bet he is in Heaven tending a Golden Still..
    ken said...
    popcorn sutton was born in haywood county not cock county tn he lived most of hive in hemhill in the jojhthan creek coummity
    DINK said...
    I CALED POPCORN 2005 WHEN I WAS VACTIONING IN TENNESSE, IHAD A MOONSHINE JUG I WANTED HIM TO SIGN. WHICH HE GLADING DID,HE TALKED A WHILE. POPCORN DID NOTHING WRONG HE WAS JUST WHAT HE ENJOYED. MY REGERTS AND THOUGHYS GO OUT TO HIS FAMILY.GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
    7q said...
    maybe some local will set the thing stright -- ashotgun does alot of justice if fired into theright government official-- i would certainly be willing to contribute to a legal defense fund if such a person was to ever be cought ------

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