Marvin “Jim Tom” Hedrick was more than just a moonshiner. He was a legend, a storyteller, and a friend to many. Born on Christmas Day in 1940, he lived a life full of adventure, humor, and wisdom. He mastered the art of distilling, creating some of the finest moonshine in Robbinsville, North Caroline. He also shared his knowledge and charisma with millions of viewers on the Discovery Channel’s reality television series, “Moonshiners.” Jim Tom Hedrick passed away on September 6, 2023, at the age of 82, leaving behind a legacy of spirit and joy. In this article, we will celebrate his life and achievements, and pay tribute to the man who made moonshine shine.
Marvin “Jim Tom” Hedrick
Date of birth
December 25, 1940
Place of birth
Robbinsville, North Carolina
Date of death
September 6, 2023
Cause of death
Wife and Children
Jim Tom Hedrick never married and had no children. He was survived by his sister and her husband, as well as several nieces and nephews.
Moonshiner, plumber, auto repairman, electrician
Years active on TV
Sugarlands Distilling Company
Jim Tom’s Unaged Rye
Jim Tom’s face and signature
Popcorn Sutton, another legendary moonshiner
Mark Ramsey and Digger Manes, fellow moonshiners and TV stars
A respected and beloved figure in Appalachia and the moonshine industry
Millions of viewers who enjoyed his antics and wisdom on “Moonshiners” and social media
Sugarlands Distilling Company and Discovery Channel posted heartfelt messages on their social media accounts after his death, many fans also expressed their condolences and admiration for him online, a memorial service was held in his hometown on September 10, 2023
Jim Tom Hedrick Early life
Jim Tom Hedrick was born on Christmas Day, 1940, in Robbinsville, North Carolina. He grew up in the Appalachian Mountains, where he learned the art of moonshining from his father and grandfather. Moonshining is the illegal production and distribution of liquor, usually made from corn mash and distilled in homemade stills. Jim Tom developed a passion for making moonshine, as well as a knack for storytelling and singing.
Jim Tom Hedrick Career
Jim Tom worked various jobs throughout his life, such as plumbing, auto repair, and electrical work. However, he always returned to his moonshining roots, honing his skills and reputation as one of the best distillers in the South. He became known for his signature recipes, such as Rye Apple and Unaged Rye, as well as his colorful personality and catchy songs. He once said, “Moonshine is not just a drink. It’s a way of life.”
In 2012, Jim Tom joined the cast of “Moonshiners”, a reality television series on the Discovery Channel that follows the lives and activities of moonshiners in Appalachia. He quickly became a fan favorite, thanks to his charisma, humor, and wisdom. He also shared his moonshining secrets and tips with the viewers, as well as his stories and songs. He appeared on the show until 2021.
Jim Tom also collaborated with Sugarlands Distilling Company, a legal moonshine producer based in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. He endorsed their products and created his own line of moonshine, featuring his likeness on the bottles. He also visited their distillery and participated in their events, such as the Moonshiner’s Reunion and the Great Smoky Mountain Half Marathon.
Jim Tom Hedrick Death and Tribute
Jim Tom died on September 6, 2023, at the age of 82. He had been battling kidney cancer for some time and had been undergoing dialysis. He passed away peacefully in a nursing home in Robbinsville, surrounded by his family and friends. His death was mourned by his fans, fellow moonshiners, and colleagues at Sugarlands Distilling Company. They paid tribute to him on social media and expressed their gratitude for his friendship and legacy.
Jim Tom Hedrick was a legend in Appalachia and a master of moonshining. He left behind a rich heritage of culture, history, and spirit. He will be remembered for his love of life, his generosity of heart, and his joy of making moonshine.