Friday, July 17, 2020 12 mins read
Friday, July 17, 2020 12 mins read
How one of America’s most infamous family feuds led to the legendary Hatfield moonshine
“I am the great-great-grandson of Devil Anse Hatfield.”
That’s from Mark Hatfield, Master Distiller at The Original Hatfield Family Moonshine.
Since 2016, he’s carried on his family’s larger-than-life legacy of distilling small batch moonshine, using original recipes more than 150 years old.
Back in those days, the two things that mattered most in the Hatfield household were church and making moonshine.
The two were so closely connected, that Devil Anse kept his priceless recipes written in the back of the family bible.
Mark explains, “They believed strong enough in their moonshine and in the bible to actually write the recipes in the back of their bible. To me that means a lot.”
The feud that led to The Original Hatfield Family Moonshine
Mark Hatfield’s great-great-grandfather was born William Anderson Hatfield. The native West Virginiaian, natural-born marksman, and rider, would grow up to become known as “Devil Anse.”.
He was a successful farmer and businessman with his own thriving timber. He even bought and sold real estate.
But his real passion was for making moonshine.
Meanwhile, on the Kentucky side of the Tug River Valley, the hunting and farming McCoy family was also flourishing under the direction of patriarch, Randolph “Randall” McCoy.
From the jump, there was no love lost between these two clans.
Despite being separated by the Tug Fork River, it seemed to either side that the Appalachian Mountains were never going to be big enough for the both of them.
A civil dispute eventually erupted between these two prominent families over timber the McCoys allegedly felled from land owned by the Hatfields.
A jury ultimately sided with Devil Anse and the Hatfields. Bad blood was born.
But the real catalyst for this iconic American quarrel was hog theft.
A stolen pig led to America’s most infamous family feud and The Original Hatfield Family Moonshine.
In 1878, a cousin of Devil Anse’s named Floyd was accused of stealing a pig from Randall McCoy. Considering how valuable pigs were to the farming community at the time, this was quite a serious crime.
After statements made in court by a man related to both families, the case was once again decided in favor of the Hatfields. Enough was enough for the McCoys.
What came next was a lawless, unrelenting family feud that would last almost 30 bloody years.
There were plenty of casualties along the way. But Devil Anse’s moonshine recipes would survive.
Mark still uses them today.
Old fashioned recipes behind Hatfield moonshine
Devil Anse’s Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey lives up to its legendary namesake.
This award winner rests in brand new #5 charred oak barrels, giving it a rich, smokey taste that sticks to your palate until arriving at a silky smooth finish.
The Hatfield moonshine recipe was perfected more than 150 years ago by Mark’s great-great-grandfather.
Charred in a Jar is a Hatfied family tradition that was born of necessity.
Barrels could be hard to come by for moonshining bootleggers in the 1800s. So the Hatfields had to improvise.
When barrels weren’t readily available, they placed strips of charred white oak inside mason jars and then filled those jars with moonshine.
This helped accelerate the aging process. The result was a whiskey filled with sweet corn and smokey caramel notes.
With this new method of rapid maturation perfected, the Hatfields set to experimenting with new flavors for their whiskey recipes.
Homemade moonshine is still bottled by hand at The Original Hatfield Family Moonshine.
With their Honey Charred in a Jar, the Hatfields add real honey to their bourbon mash and let it age in the jar with charred strips of white oak.
This Hatfield family recipe blends hand-picked grains with all-natural flavoring to produce pleasing, peppered hints of smoky charred oak alongside lingering notes of salted caramel.
Truck drivers are among the hardest working men and women in the world. They’re the backbone of American industry.
To celebrate their around the clock efforts to keep our country going, Hatfield adds all-natural blackberry flavoring to moonshine, creating their unique Truckers Blackberry Whiskey.
From aroma to finish, you’ll experience the pleasant essence of ripe blackberry, slowly distilled together with the best local grains available.
Real mocha chocolate and coffee beans add rich, sweet tinges and a dessert-like appeal to their Coco Loco Pig moonshine.
Served straight from the bottle, chilled or inside a frozen slushy, the undeniably delicious mix of coffee and chocolate are the ideal complement to a 150-year-old Hatfield family moonshine recipe.
Ms Vanilla Piggy is perfect for putting a strictly Appalachian take on the classic White Russian.
Succulent Swiss Vanilla flavor and a bold twist of fine coffee; it’s a blend of the best 21st century flavors with a classic Hatfield recipe from the 1800s.
The flavor of fresh, pickled Huckleberry meets sweet corn moonshine with Hatfield’s Huckleberry Pig.
Tart and fruity, it’s a super smooth sipper that’s also perfect for punching up your favorite cocktails.
For Hatfield moonshine, The Devil is in the details
Mark insists there's a little bit of his great-great-grandfather Devil Anse in every drop of craft spirits from The Original Hatfield Family Moonshine.
It’s an authenticity big, brand name distillers can’t commit to delivering.
“Because small batched moonshine is a lost art.”
He continues, “There is a big difference between the larger distilleries that actually make ethanol, then water it down and sell it as moonshine, over small-batch, real moonshine recipes made from just grains.”
“I was raised making moonshine with my dad,” Mark goes on.
“My dad, as well as all my neighbors growing up, worked in coal mines. When they went on strike, my dad and I would go up into the hills behind my house and make moonshine. Which he would sell to feed our family.”
The irony isn’t wasted on Mark.
“Today, the local community supports my distillery by buying my products locally.’
For Mark, that’s the most rewarding part of it all. “Having repeat customers,” he confirms.
“Especially the ones who drive five to eight hours just to buy my products.”
Mark enjoys sharing his handiwork with good friends like Scotty May, who’s also a part of their process.
For a man who grew up poor in rural Mingo county and never finished high school, Mark is without question a success story.
He’s proud to remind people, “I raised three smart children that are all doctors with practices in West Virginia.”
For Mark, only one mission remains, “To carry on my forefather’s fabulous moonshine recipes. And to preserve the Hatfield family’s name for generations to come.”
So, never mind The Real McCoy.
This is the Original Hatfield.