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White Lighting Black Label Vintage T-Shirt

Regular price $34.95

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Not available in stores.

Entrepreneurship. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps.

"Popcorn" Sutton said the best "likker" can made by the waters of a cold creek where the water flowers grow plentiful and tall. Popcorn had been an Appalachian moonshiner making his white lighting. Making the "hooch" was his heritage, he felt -- he was a Scots-Irish American from a long line of distillers.

The thing to know about White Lighting or "white dog" -- moonshine -- is that the distillers are the entrepreneurs of Appalachia. It is incorrect to say the hooch was not good. Some was very good. The juice was not aged in barrels so it didn't mature to the golden copper color. Popcorn's brew was much sought-after. So this is a great tshirt to have, to celebrate this part of American history.

When Popcorn died, at his own hand, because he didn't want to go to prison, he was a celebrity, having written his autography at 60 years old.

At the funeral, Hank Williams Jr. flew in to pay his respects. Popcorn had prepared a tombstone, and "for years he had kept it by his front porch and had kept his casket ready in his living room." (Wikipedia). The granite read: "Popcorn Said F*** You."

Moonshiners feel they own the land, the fruit and grains, and that it's really not the government's business to tax their whiskey.

Amos Owens kept a telescope, to check if federal agents were climbing up his mountain. Since the 1840s, we had sold enough barrels of brew with cherries and sourwood honey to have his own mountain, with corn, the cherries, and the still. The government, he felt, had no right to any of it. 

This is the heritage of the moonshiner; he would rather make the white lighting at night, by the light of the moon, than get caught by agents during the day. 

Following Popcorn's passing, his family and Hank William's Jr carried on his legacy by going legit, with Popcorn Sutton's Tennessee White Whiskey.

In fact, 'shine is rather hip these days. You can find the brand Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine in stores, with 27 flavors, including peaches, cherries, chocolate cherries, and lemon drop, the original 100 proof down to 35 proof. There's even a "Harley- Davidson Charred" flavor.

If they had paid their taxes, who knows,  Popcorn and Owens and countless others could be as well-known as JD or Jim Beam today. Many were master distillers, with a family history of the craft, proud of what they made, but they just did not want to follow the rules.

(Picture: Diego Gutierrez's 1562 map, showing the first known use of a "Appalachia" variation.)

The Vintage Look

The shirt has a unique distressed, vintage look; cool, subtle, like washed in a creek. Like maybe it's seen a few things.  The fabric remains the highest quality (see below),

The T-shirt

Our tees are the highest quality you will find. 100% combed and ring-spun cotton by Bella Canvas, a USA-based company. Feels soft and lightweight, with the right amount of stretch. It's comfortable and very flattering for both men and women.

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• 100% combed and ring-spun cotton (Heather colors contain polyester)
• Ash color is 99% combed and ring-spun cotton, 1% polyester
• Heather colors are 52% combed and ring-spun cotton, 48% polyester
• Athletic and Black Heather are 90% combed and ring-spun cotton, 10% polyester
• Heather Prism colors are 99% combed and ring-spun cotton, 1% polyester
• Fabric weight: 4.2 oz (142 g/m2)
• Pre-shrunk fabric
• Side-seamed construction
• Shoulder-to-shoulder taping

Size guide

Length (inches) 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34
Width (inches) 16 ½ 18 20 22 24 26 28 30