Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Whiskey Named for Famous Feud Coming to ArtWalk

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Whiskey Named for Famous Feud Coming to ArtWalk

Article excerpt

Wine and cheese has been the usual free fare for ArtWalk gatherings in galleries, businesses and other downtown Charleston locales on the third Thursday of every month. But this Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m., there will be a free ArtWalk whiskey tasting at the Tops Off Barber Shop, Salon and Spa, 229 Hale St. (Visit art walkcwv.com for the full list of venues.)

The event is dubbed "Whiskers & Whiskey, but this isn't just any whiskey. The whiskey featured comes with a historic pedigree, a brand dubbed The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand Whiskey, which hit the market in September 2014 and is now sold in more than 40 states.

On hand to present it will be Cross Lanes resident John T. Hatfield, a great-great-grandson of Devil Anse Hatfield, the patriarch of one-half of the famous feuding clans of the Hatfield and McCoys.

The whiskey grew out of a short-lived reality TV show that aired on the History Channel in 2013, titled "Hatfields and McCoys: White Lightning. The show's premise was that descendants of the famous feuding families would share moonshine recipes and create a white whiskey that could then be marketed.

"In the beginning, it was a moonshine show, said Hatfield, 53, in a phone interview. "It was about doing moonshine. At the end of the day, we decided to go with the whiskey.

As with most things involving the feud, which dates back to the 1880s, the creation of the whiskey has not been without its own disputes. When notice of the whiskey first started appearing online in The Whiskey Wash (thewhiskeywash.com), the comments section was soon filled with questions about the authenticity of the recipe and the genealogy of those behind the product.

You can type the name of the whiskey into the search field at The Whiskey Wash to read up on the claims by other Hatfield members that the whiskey wasn't made according to a family recipe, and that the McCoys involved with the whiskey company were not direct descendants of Randall Hatfield.

Suffice it to say that when The Whiskey Wash finally got around to reviewing the Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand Whiskey on Dec. 5, 2015, they noted the controversy, but then proceeded to go straight to a review of the product, which is produced and bottled by Local Choice Spirits in North Charleston, South Carolina.

The reviewer's summation? "For all the drama, this is a surprisingly mild- mannered whiskey, Katelyn Best said.

As for the history of the feud itself, outside the region it is often portrayed as a battle between crazy, feuding hillbillies who lived on opposite sides of the river. It was far more complex than that.

"It was a political thing, even back then with the mountain men, Hatfield said. "There were politics involved. You know, you had the Civil War that had just ended. Some of the guys went North, some went South. …

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