Moonshiners stars Mark Ramsey and Digger Manes had their work cut out for them after a police raid forced them to flee Tennessee to continue. Setting up in another location was "a whole lot of work," Ramsey and Manes told PopCulture.com ahead of Wednesday's new episode, and nearly pushed them out of the moonshine business altogether.
Finding a location that has both a good source of water and is far away from the public's prying eyes was hard enough, and Ramsey said the raid itself "took the damn wind out of [his] sails." There's no quitting the backwoods booze business now, however. "We're about too old to do anything else, and Digger's too pretty to go to jail," he joked.
Carrying on the moonshining tradition is a big part of the dynamic duo pushing forward, as is the boom in demand for alcohol that happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. "COVID put a huge demand on liquor, legal and illegal," Manes explained, as his partner joked, "If you're stuck with your spouse seven days a week, you might need a drink... or two."
Despite the demand, Manes and Ramsey were determined not to gouge the price of their liquor. "They're our friends and our customers, so we suffered with them," Ramsey explained. Even now, Manes said the demand is still heightened, but they're having to "dig a little deeper" to keep their prices low.
The Moonshiners stars are looking forward to fans seeing some "real historic things" this season, both on the backwoods liquor show and on Master Distiller, which they judge alongside Tickle and Tim Smith. There's some major talent from booze-makers competing for the ultimate title this season, with Ramsey admitting, "There has not been one episode of Master Distiller where we didn't walk away learning something, which is good. You're never too old to keep learning."
Manes chimed in, "You can tell the ones that just wanna be on TV. ...They don't know what they're doing first of all." Those contestants will "face the reckoning" down the line, but being able to replicate their work and channel a passion for their craft are the most important factors. " To make good liquor, you gotta have the passion in your heart for it," he said, "That always shines through."
This season of Moonshiners and Master Distiller, Ramsey joked fans can "enjoy our ignorance and our foolishness," adding, "Maybe you'll learn something." Manes chimed in, "You'll maybe learn what not to do!" Moonshiners airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Discovery and discovery+, followed by Master Distiller at 9 p.m. ET.