Moonshiners TV Poster Image




Illegal alcohol distillation is focus of docuseries.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series takes a non-judgmental look at moonshining trade and the government officials who are trying to end it.

Positive role models

The moonshiners refuse to adhere to the laws enforcing alcohol creation and distribution; some moonshiners teach their young kids how to distill while avoiding the law.


Guns and rifles are visible, and are often drawn by civilians on public roads. Armed law enforcement is shown storming people's homes. Stories are told about agents being killed while trying to stop them; pictures of bloody murder sites are shown.

Not applicable

Occasionally words like "damn" and "hell" are audible. Stronger language is bleeped.


Winchester rifles are visible and the benefits that come from their use discussed.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The series centers on the cultural meanings moonshining has for some people, and the negative impact it has on others. Occasionally folks are shown with jars of moonshine, drinking it and/or drunk. Cigarette smoking is occasionally visible.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this docuseries features people illegal distilling and selling corn whisky (a.k.a. moonshine), and police officers trying to stop them. Not surprisingly, drinking and drunken behavior is often visible, along with occasional cigarette smoking. Moonshiners and law enforcement officers carry and point guns during the course of their work, and there's some discussion of past violent encounters between the two groups, including images of bloody murder scenes. Words like "damn" and "hell" are occasionally audible and anything stronger is bleeped.

What's the story?

MOONSHINERS is a documentary series featuring Appalachian moonshiners during the height of the summer distilling season, and some of the law enforcement officials trying to stop them. Cameras follow contemporary bootleggers as they distill and sell corn whisky, the making of which they view as part of their cultural history. Viewers also get to see officers like Special Agent Jesse Tate send in informants, raid storage houses, and arrest distillers in order to end their illegal operations. Detailed explanations of how corn whisky is produced and footage of infamous moonshiners are also featured.

Is it any good?


The series offers a unique look into the world of today's moonshiners, many of who justify their illegal actions as a commitment to their heritage and as a way of making money to support their families. But it is law enforcement that offers a darker description of the underground trade, which they claim is driven by greed and violence.

The show attempts to offer a balanced look at both sides, but the likable personalities of some of the moonshiners, and the conversations about the role bootlegging has had in American history, sometimes make it hard to remember that what they are doing is illegal. Nonetheless, it succeeds at offering viewers an interesting and voyeuristic look into a world that most people know little or nothing about.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why some documentaries showcase illegal activities. Is it responsible or ethical to feature people that are engaged in illegal acts, even for a show that is supposed to be informational and offers multiple points of view? Why do you think these moonshiners were willing to appear on reality television doing something they know is illegal?

  • Are there any stereotypes associated with moonshiners? Are those stereotypes challenged or reinforced in this series?

TV details

Cast:Jesse Tate, Popcorn Sutton, Steven Ray Tickle
Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Moonshiners was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written bynot stupid November 10, 2012

been there done that these people will kill the punks.Kill tikleand his mom

if this show was real them people will be s*** on spot because it is so stupid, they must be on witness protection because they will not come home
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 10 years old February 22, 2013

Moonshiners Review

I don't think this is appropriate for younger kids. It teaches them about making an illegal alcohol. It also has some bad language in it.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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