With audiences everywhere raising their eyebrows at the supposedly illegal activities of the “Moonshiners,” the cast has been forced to answer questions about their run-ins with the law. In an interview with Fox News, Tim Smith and Steven Tickle told their interviewers they were simply outsmarting the police. Tickle explained, “They’ve got to actually catch you doing something wrong. ” To which Smith added, “And that’s physically catch you.” The pair maintained that by the time the program airs, they have simply moved on, avoiding the police.
The show frequently makes reference to one legit moonshiner who did get caught — the legendary bootlegger Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. According to The New York Times, many people believe Sutton himself was one of the last real moonshiners, and he was eventually punished for it and wound up in jail multiple times. Since his death, however, microdistilleries like the one Sutton ran have been legalized in Tennessee, and you can even buy Sutton’s historic recipe in the shops today.