Shining new future for one Heartland family - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Shining new future for one Heartland family


A Heartland father and son team recently took a major leap of faith.

They quit their jobs early this year to start a new business, and today you could say they're building on shine. 

Like many small towns in America, Barlow, Kentucky is struggling to keep up with tough economic times.

Right off of Highway 60, if you look closely you will see a unique new business.

"This started out of boredom," said Mike Haney. 

Mike Haney spent 32 years of his life doing shift work at the area paper mill. The art of moon shining has always fascinated him.

A couple of years ago, he started tinkering with some parts for a still that he bought online.

"I thought I can build something better than this," said Mike Haney. "I made a video and put it on You Tube. With the power of the internet, people starting calling wanting to buy them."

Haney says he couldn't keep up with demand. He finally made a decision to leave his job, just a few years shy of retirement.

"I walked out with nothing, and took a big leap of faith."

His son Matt jumped in with both feet. The Company Hillbilly Stills was formed.

"It shot off, was a hit," said Matt Haney. 

The Haney's say they hit the market at the perfect time.

"The micro distillery industry is on the edge, it's exploding," said Mike Haney.

You can use a still like the one they make for many reasons. You can make your own ethanol, and of course your own whiskey.

"You can own it, and look at but if you make any kind of alcohol without a proper permit it's illegal," said Haney.

They're selling the copper creations all over the country, and even across the globe.

"Within a year we were the number one home distillery website in the world," said Matt Haney. 

Mike Haney is still working off of a laptop in his kitchen,  and they're busting at the seams with inventory.

In a time of layoffs and disappointments, they have hired three employees.

They are also growing, as they'll break ground soon on a new building.

"You wake up some mornings and go, wow...gotta catch your breath," said Matt Haney. 

They are hoping to keep cooking up success in this small town for years to come.

"We're working for ourselves, and are having a blast," said Matt Haney. "It may end tomorrow, but we will ride it until it ends."

To find out more about the Hillbilly Stills, you can visit the company's website at

You can also follow their latest success on facebook.

According to the Haney's they will be featured soon on a web based reality show. You can look for details about that on their website, and on the company's facebook page.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly