Saturday, March 21, 2009

Popcorn Sutton

Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton, shown in 2007 with a small liquor still in back of an old Ford truck, had been scheduled to report to prison on Friday.

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.

Dabney, Joseph Earl. (1974). Mountain spirits; a chronicle of corn whiskey from King James' Ulster plantation to America's Appalachians and the moonshine life. New York: Scribner.

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