About Hillbilly Stills
Mike Haney, the self title "Copper King", is owner of Hillbilly Stills in Barlow, KY. About a month ago he contacted us here at Mixer Direct about buying an agitator for one of their stills. When I first heard the name of the company I was interested so I started learning about their company. I then called Mike and asked if I could come visit and he was more than willing to let me come interview him and learn more about his company. I was blown away by Mike and his families hospitality, workmanship, and love for the Lord. Mike summed it up well by saying "we're a God fearing family, that's just all there is to it." Needless to say it was a wonderful trip and we here at Mixer Direct wish Mike, his family, and his business tremendous blessings.
Mike was a paper mill worker in Barlow, Kentucky and had committed himself to shift work for 32 years. After a year battling much pain, Mike’s wife was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis in 2009. They were always on the go, but the with the onset of the disease and its symptoms, they were forced to slow down their lifestyle a bit.
The strong distilling backgrounds in both Mike and his wife’s family gave him a strong interest in moonshine but during his time at home with his wife, he began to read and research the process more. His wife’s grandfather is from Nashville and made moonshine for years and Mike was able to learn a lot from them. Mike’s great-grandfather who owned a large farm just outside of Barlow, also made moonshine for a living so Mike has gleaned a general knowledge of the process throughout the years. His continued research sparked his interest further and he began to experiment at home with distilling. He bought his first 2 gallon still that he referred to as “absolute junk”. This lack of quality spurred in him a desire to make a high-quality one so that he could make better moonshine. He had worked with metal his whole life, so he began going to the scrap yard to pick up pieces of metal and began tinkering with the process and before long, Mike had produced his very own homemade still. As he and his wife sat inside watching television, their own still would be on the porch producing moonshine.
This hobby was great but the process lacked time efficiency. He decided to continue his research and as he studied Commercial Distillation Columns, he gleaned much wisdom and was able to improve his process to where he could produce a gallon per hour at 180 proof. He uploaded a video of his home distillation process on YouTube and only days later, phone calls of people wanting to purchase his creation began to pour in.
After months of shipping his product from the den of his home and working almost as much from home as he was at the paper mill, Mike and his wife decided to commit themselves to opening a still company and trusting that as their sole source of income.
He had a website built with just 12 products but continued to invest his profits back into the company and today they now are able to provide work for 12 other people. He also works closely with a local wood worker to add wood to his copper kettles. His company along with one other company, are the primary source of jobs in Barlow. Though Barlow is a dying town, Mike is able to maintain a strong relationship with Barlow’s Mayor and maintain a positive influence within the community.
He has committed his business to the Lord and says that the Lord has blessed his business in ways he could never accept the glory for. He prays everyday for the business and prays before making any business decisions and he has seen great success within his company.
The stills are now being used by a number of micro distilleries, universities, and fuel projects in Africa. Though Mike has the skill to produce high-quality moonshine, he sticks to producing the stills and allows the artisans to work their magic using his highly crafted copper stills.