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The "Real McCoy"

Moonshine has part of the culture of Appalachia since its earliest history. Immigrants from Scotland and Ireland brought with them their traditional recipes for “white whiskey.” Distilled from a mix of fermented corn, barley and yeast, moonshine was easily and inexpensively produced from products readily available to early settlers in the region.

Moonshine was an important tool of economic survival for many in Appalachia. The manufacturing of homemade “brew” for personal and commercial use was commonplace in an agricultural society. The practice existed long before the outbreak of hostilities between the Hatfield and McCoy families. Nevertheless, the sale and consumption of moonshine is one of the traits most often associated with the feuding clans.

Understandably, some today are reluctant to accept moonshine as a legitimate part of our cultural heritage. Like other stereotypes of Appalachia, moonshine carries with it a number of negative connotations including a long history of abuse. In 2013, a “reality” television program featuring crude caricatures of modern-day “Hatfields and McCoys” distilling “white lightning” together further intensified ill-will towards moonshine.

Others, like my friend, Bob Scott, owner of the McCoy homestead property in Hardy, KY, think differently. As long as I have known Bob, he has wanted to produce a high-end heritage-quality moonshine product using water drawn from Randolph McCoy’s well. After more than a decade of effort, Bob saw his dream become reality in early 2019 when he partnered with local Pike County distiller, Pauley Hollow.

Operated by Josh Martin and his wife, Jessica, Pauley Hollow is the first legal distillery in Pike County, Kentucky. Using quality local ingredients, Josh produces moonshine, bourbon and rye whiskies using time-honored recipes passed down from his grandfather. "Fuel of the Feud" is the first (and only) authentic moonshine to be produced from the McCoy family well. Pauley Hollow’s moonshine is produced with care and attention to quality and tradition, honoring the rich heritage of Appalachia.

“Fuel of the Feud” is currently available for purchase in Kentucky and West Virginia. Bob and the Martins expect that the availability of their moonshine product will be expanded regionally in 2020. Look for “Fuel of the Feud” coming your way soon!


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