If you live in West Virginia, chances are you familiar with the tale of the Hatfields and McCoys. In 1875, a feud erupted between rival families of Devil Anse Hatfield and Ol’ Randall McCoy. A bloody quarrel took place 144 years ago and it remains a cornerstone of American folklore, due the themes of family honor and vengeance.
Family Traditions Honored
Today, Nancy Hatfield Mounts Justus, the great-great-granddaughter, of Devil Anse Hatfield carries on the family name and tradition of “shining.”
Nancy helped her father create the best moonshine in Mingo County when she was just a child. Now as an adult, she decided to honor her father and family legacy by opening the Hatfield And McCoy Moonshine Distillery in Gilbert, WV.
Recipes Passed Down Through Generations
All recipes used at the Hatfield and McCoy Moonshine Distillery were handed down from generation to generation. The original recipe belonged to Devil Anse Hatfield and this legacy recipe is currently produced in small batches, six days a week. The micro-distillery sits on original Hatfield land that was also down through Nancy’s family.
Hatfield And McCoy Moonshine Crafted with Local Ingredients
Hatfield And McCoy Moonshine is created in small batches to maintain quality and authentic standards. All moonshine produced is made with premium white corn mash. Nancy and her team use only West Virginia grown corn sourced from local farmers. To create the signature moonshine, the corn is carefully fermented and distilled in copper kettle stills. After the moonshine is complete it is bottled by hand.
Authentically Gluten Free
Because the Hatfield And McCoy Moonshine Distillery uses a corn mash without any grain added, the family recipe is entirely gluten-free. The taste of the 90 proof moonshine is described as a spirit that “goes down smooth, but kicks like a mule.” A versatile drink, moonshine can be enjoyed neat, chilled or mixed into a variety of cocktails.
An Appalachian Tradition
Traditionally it was illegal in the United States to distill moonshine, therefore distilling had to be done under the cover of night. Some moonshiners even took to the woods for added privacy. Moonshining became a prominent hobby in Appalachia due to its quick production time. Unlike other liquors such as whiskey or bourbon, moonshine does not have to age before you can enjoy it. Because of its quick turnaround, moonshine grew in popularity during the bootleg era of Prohibition.
After Prohibition, people assumed moonshine would fade away, but moonshine still flows the mountains of Appalachia. The allure of moonshine has made this craft an item of folklore, television and film. It has captured the imagination of America for generations with its iconic nicknames, such as White Lightning, Fire Water, and Mountain Dew.
If you are in West Virginia visit the Hatfield and McCoy Moonshine Distillery and watch how this storied liquor is hand crafted in true Appalachian heritage. While you’re there try a sample and remember that there is a piece of history in every sip!