Did Digger From 'Moonshiners' Get Busted? His Craft Is Definitely Risky

Michelle Stein - Author

Nov. 16 2022, Updated 2:08 p.m. ET

Digger from Moonshiners
Source: Facebook

Those who watch Discovery's Moonshiners know Eric "Digger" Manes and Mark Ramsey are BFFs and business partners. And, as the title of the series suggests, their profession is making moonshine — which in case you didn't already know, happens to be illegal. Isn't it pretty much a guarantee that they'll get arrested?

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Plenty of viewers have pointed out how bizarre it is for Digger and Mark to be starring in a show that features them breaking the law. Ever since the show started airing in 2011, people have wondered how the heck they weren't deliberately incriminating themselves by airing their illegal activities.

And lately, the question on everyone's mind seems to be: Did Digger get busted? Let's take a look at what he and Mark have said about the legality of moonshining — and whether the rumors are true.

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digger busted moonshiners
Source: Discovery

Yes, making moonshine is illegal in Tennessee. So could Digger get busted?

Allow me to clarify: Plenty of legal distilleries distribute moonshine across the U.S. but making this liquor at home is illegal. Obviously though, that doesn't stop people from doing it anyway.

Digger learned the craft under the late legendary moonshiner Popcorn Sutton, and continues to practice the craft to this day. "It's authentic," Mark told WHSV TV in 2017. "What we do, we can't permit ourselves to be found by the law because it is very much against the law."

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Apparently, Moonshiners typically begins filming in April when there are plenty of leaves on the trees — in order to help conceal the illegal distilling. "The fact of the matter is when it's on TV, it's already done," Mark told WHSV TV. "If police aren't involved in the recording process, they can't use that against us because they don't know that that's liquor coming out of the still."

Source: Facebook
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Are Mark and Digger legal moonshiners?

It's worth noting that Digger and Mark work with a legal moonshine distilling company called Sugarlands Distilling Company, which is located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. However, they could still get busted for the moonshining they do outside of that at any time. "As for law enforcement, we don't know where we stand," Digger explained. "We wonder every day if this is the day they're going to knock on our door."

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Have Mike and Digger ever been busted illegally moonshining?

Unfortunately, yes, Mike and Digger have been caught illegally moonshining before.

During a segment of "Moonshiners: Believe It or Not," Mark and Digger shared that they had been renting a warehouse to make moonshine during the winter months. It was located "right next to one of the finest limestone springs we know of," according to Digger.

They were inside the building one day when they heard knocking on the door. "And then the bam, bam, bam — you know how a metal garage door sounds — it scared the piss out of you," Digger explained.

Mark recounted: "When the door raised and we saw who it was, I gotta tell you, all the wind went out of Mark's self. We opened the door there, and there the chief of police is with two officers. And you know, you don't really know what to do. You automatically think the worst. We're guilty by association."

Digger added, "You know, you don't think, 'Well can I run?' because they've got you. They're watching all corners of the building."

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Digger continued, "We've had little brushes with the law many times. We're a country town but our law enforcement officers are top-shelf. They're sharp. And they're country folk, too. They think like we do. So they know what we're doing. They know who we are. I'm certain we're being watched."

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So could this be the end of Digger and Mark's moonshining days? "We're not in handcuffs right this second but honestly, we don't know at this point what our future holds," Mark said.

Digger added: "We know what we're doing — there's a risk — and it doesn't keep your heart from falling to your shoes. But if you live in fear all your life of something bad happening, you're going to stay at the damn house and never accomplish anything."

Why don't moonshiners usually get arrested since they film for a reality TV show?

Because production of the moonshine happens deep in Appalachian woods — and Discovery airs Moonshiners months afterward — it's nearly impossible for law enforcement to prove they're distilling illegal liquor.

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Source: YouTube

Well, there you have it: Both Digger and Mark have been busted moonshining — and it's not clear yet what that means for their future in the business.

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