To make moonshine legally, descendants from two of the most famous families in West Virginia – and the nation – decided to put aside their bad blood in the name of good business relations, according to the Associated Press on January 31.
The families involved in the more than 135-year-old blood feud that became the modern American symbol for both family honor and vengeance? The infamous Hatfield and McCoy families.
Located in Gilbert, West Virginia, the Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine distillery uses William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield’s original recipe to make the “Drink of the Devil” on Hatfield land. West Virginia gave the two families the legal go-ahead to make and export the white corn liquor to other states.
Devil Anse’s third great granddaughter, Amber Bishop, and her mother, Nancy, work at the distillery, while Amber’s husband, Chad Bishop, runs the business end of things, reports the Daily Mail. Amber is quoted as saying the following.
“I’ll be honest. It’s just kind of crazy… We never dreamed that it was ever going to be anything like this.”
Randall McCoy’s second great grandson, Ronald McCoy, helped with the business startup and consulted with the Hatfields during testing and marketing for the products.
Although “The Feud” began in 1875 officially, the two families started down a path of hatred and bloodshed in 1964 after the first killing.
As history tells it on the Drink of the Devil website, William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield and Ol’ Randall McCoy were the family patriarchs. Jim Vance, uncle to Devil Anse Hatfield and Confederate Home Guard “Logan Wildcats” member, killed Ol’ Randall McCoy’s little brother, Asa Harmon McCoy.
After this death, the two families fought for years about everything. Some of the two families’ dealings included a land dispute, a hog dispute, a romance, a massacre, and a number of killings between the families eventually led Kentucky and West Virginia to feud as well. In all, there were 12 killings between the two families before the feud ended.
After generations of killings, disputes, and bootlegging, the two families finally settled their differences and began to work together, and their modern moonshine business was born out of recipes created by Devil Anse Hatfield during these dark times.
The attorney for the Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine distillery, Greg Chiartas, noted that the business is about the families “banding together” in the name of commerce. Interest in the business surfaced when a television miniseries with the same name aired in 2012, and a documentary starring some of the two families’ direct descendants aired a year later.
The distillery opened after West Virginia legalized moonshine production around that time, and by November, 2013, Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine was stocking the central Alcohol Beverage Control warehouse. Packaged in house, each bottle sells for $32.99 per 25-ounce bottle in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Although Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine is legally distilled in West Virginia, and Natural News reports that a number of distilleries are popping up across the “bootleggers belt,” making moonshine at home is still illegal in most states.
[Images via DrinkoftheDevil.com, Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain]