Discovery series Moonshiners has been airing since 2014 and Digger and Mark and the rest of the cast are keeping the 200-year-old tradition of making moonshine alive.
The show is back in 2021 for a new series. While some aspects of the Moonshiners’ lives have been catapulted into the 21st century, it seems that some traditions just aren’t to be broken, so let’s take a look at why Moonshiners use a raccoon pecker in the distilling process.
The Moonshiners’ distilling process explored
To make moonshine, water is combined with corn, malt and sugar in a big pot and it’s heated to over 70 degrees celsius.
During a 2020 episode of Moonshiners, Mark Rogers explained how he wanted to double distill his liquor to make more money. From the pot to the condenser, the distilling process creates a moonshine with 100 proof, then it gets distilled again and his plan was to finish with moonshine with 170 proof.
During the episode of Moonshiners, Mark Rogers and Huck revamped an old still, Mark said: “When you’re this far back in the mountains, it’s a long ways out of here. If there’s anything laying around that you can see that’ll make it work, better use it.“
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What is a pecker in moonshine?
If any viewers of Moonshiners have noticed the phrase ‘pecker’ being used, then wonder no more what it means.
Online sources confirm that the pecker used in the moonshine distilling process is a penis bone of a racoon. “It’s placed in the outlet of a moonshine still to help the distillate to flow smoothly into the collection vessel.“
The small bone is sterilised and used to transfer the moonshine from the still into the jar.
Why do Moonshiners use a raccoon pecker?
One person who visited the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery in Dawsonville, GA in 2018, wrote on Facebook: “I learned that the bone from a raccoon penis is a crucial tool for the old timers to keep the distiller drip in the jar!“
Many moonshiners are also racoon hunters and so they have ‘peckers’ to hand.
As Mark Rogers said in a previous Moonshiners episode about using the items you have laying around, given the remote distilling locations, a racoon pecker is probably closer to hand than many other things. It may also be traditional to use the pecker rather than any kind of new item. A ‘possum pecker’ is also an alternative. And an Alabama or raccoon pecker toothpick is another name for the Moonshiners’ tool.
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WATCH MOONSHINERS ON DISCOVERY EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 9 PM