On September 6th, the moonshining world lost one of its brightest stars, Jim Tom Hedrick, to kidney cancer at the age of 82. Widely recognized for his appearance on the Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners,” Hedrick was not just a TV personality but a celebrated moonshiner in Appalachia.
Sugarlands Shine Distillery, the renowned moonshine distillery featured on “Moonshiners,” released a heartfelt statement, remembering the legend. “Jim Tom dedicated much of his life to the art of moonshining, becoming a legend in Appalachia along the way,” the statement read. Not only was his expertise in moonshining unparalleled, but his charismatic presence on “Moonshiners” also captured the hearts of viewers worldwide.
The impact of Jim Tom was profound. As Sugarlands elaborated, “Jim Tom touched the lives of countless individuals and was especially eager to pass along his lifetime of moonshining knowledge to a new generation of distillers, ensuring the craft would endure.”
The show “Moonshiners” itself has been instrumental in shedding light on the rich tradition of moonshine-making, a high-proof liquor. Since its inception in 2011, it has offered audiences a deep dive into the world of moonshining in the Appalachian mountains, producing three spinoffs in the process.
Hedrick joined the “Moonshiners” cast in its second season in 2012 and continued to be a part of the series until 2017. Renowned for his unique storytelling techniques, he was often described as “one of the most skilled moonshiners in Appalachia.” His handcrafted spirits were highly sought after throughout the South, making a significant mark in the moonshining world.
Reflecting on Jim Tom’s legacy, Ned Vickers, the president and founder of Sugarlands, mentioned, “Jim Tom was one of the first veteran moonshiners to truly embrace Sugarlands when we opened our doors.” Securing Jim Tom’s approval was pivotal for Sugarlands, lending it authenticity and credibility in the moonshine industry.
The moonshining community and fans worldwide mourn the loss of Jim Tom Hedrick, remembering him not only for his exceptional skills in the craft but also for the indelible mark he left on the hearts of many. He may have departed, but his legacy in the world of moonshining will undoubtedly live on.