In 2014, Chris Prillaman (Owner and Head Distiller) and his family took a leap of faith. They vowed to open a business that would shed light on the art of distilling and preserve old-time traditions in Franklin County, Virginia.
Chris' distilling lineage traces back many years. His grandparents were deeply connected to whiskey making and some even made history in depression times when the nationally-known conspiracy trial occurred. Fast forward to a devastating time in Chris' life when his father passed at forty-three. Chris was fourteen years old and found comfort in the traditional hobbies around home. The mountain folks took him under their wings and helped guide him along. He absorbed everything and ran with the knowledge they passed on.
A large percentage of folks in and around Franklin County, Virginia have close connections to moonshine and whiskey. It was a way of life and means of survival for most.
Chris has since passed the ropes to his daughter, Anna who leads the business today. Our family operates a tasting room and distillery store in Rocky Mount, Virginia and distributes several products in Virginia ABC stores.
Pictured is Chris and his wife, Shawn
The Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935
"Second largest trial ever held in Virginia, being second only to the trial of Aaron Burr for treason more than 100 years ago"
1935 Newspaper Quote - Roanoke Times
Our Grandpap, James Walter Hatcher, alias "Peg" was tied up in "The Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935" during the depression era. At the time, it was one of the largest trials in the country. Grandpap Peg was indicted and pulled federal time in the late 30s following his involvement. He was deemed a "kingpin" in the infamous trial.
After pulling his time out of the conspiracy trial, the Library of Congress visited the Blue Ridge Mountains and recorded Grandpap Peg playing old-time fiddle. He was leery of the mysterious vehicles pulling up to his mountain home, but ended up playing them a few tunes on his fiddle for their archive collection. You can still listen to those recordings today.
Years went by and Grandpap Peg passed his fiddle to his Daughter and our Grandmother, Virginia Irene who is ninety-two years old present day. She then passed it down to Chris.
Chris plays that very fiddle and crafts spirits in the same fashion as his Grandpap Peg. Old-time string music and Franklin County spirits share a lot in common around home, hence the meaning behind the fiddle in our logo.
Peg Hatcher's Straight Whiskey is a tribute to our Grandpap. It's our one and only aged whiskey product, handcrafted using grains from Franklin County and stored in a Virginia white oak barrel for two years. A lot of time, effort, and love went into this product.
Pictured is our Grandpap Peg Hatcher