The New York Times reports, for decades, Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton made some of the finest home-made whiskey in the U.S. And for his pains he was prosecuted by the FEDs as a bootlegger. Though he took his own life rather than serve an 18-month stint in the slammer, his recipe lives on, because he sold it to a friend. And, with the coming of a new law last October, Popcorn's whiskey is now being produced legally in Nashville.
Aside from being a tragedy, the story of Popcorn's whiskey illustrates the porous film that separates the informal economy and the legal world. The definition is changed by loosening social morays and the government's need for new sources of tax revenues.