The Story of the Original Real McCoy

The Real McCoy® Rum is based on the story of Bill McCoy, the pioneer rum runner of the Prohibition era. In January of 1920, McCoy was the first to fill a boat with alcohol in the Caribbean, sail it up to New York City, and legally act as a floating liquor store three miles off shore. McCoy was careful to always stay outside the three mile limit, which was international waters in the early days of U.S. Prohibition. (Clever, right?)

McCoy made a name for himself because he never adulterated the alcohol. While copy-cat rum runners would dilute their alcohol with wicked chemicals like turpentine, wood alcohol and prune juice, McCoy never did. The sullied products were nicknamed "Booze," "Hooch" and "Rot Gut," while McCoy’s quality spirits became known throughout speakeasies and worldwide as "The Real McCoy."

Our multi-award winning collection of rum is produced in honor of McCoy using his Prohibition Tradition®. The rum is completely unadulterated - there are no added sweeteners, flavors, perfumes or chemical stabilizers - and we use only the finest molasses and pure Barbados spring water. The rum is small batch distilled in a rare artisan combination of copper pot & column stills, then authentically tropically aged in heavy char American Oak bourbon barrels for a full 35 or 12 years.

Bailey Pryor Holding 5 Emmy Awards for his documentary film on Bill McCoy, rum runners and prohibition.

The Story of "The Real McCoy" Today

Fast forward to the twenty-first century, Founder and CEO, Bailey Pryor, came up with the idea to make The Real McCoy® Rum while producing a documentary film about Bill McCoy for Public Television in the United States.

During his research for the film, Bailey traveled to the Caribbean island of Barbados, where he met Richard Seale, the 4th generation Master Distiller at his family-owned Foursquare Distillery.

Master Distiller Richard Seale standing in front of barrels full of rum

Richard Seale & Barbados Rum

Together, Bailey and Richard developed a classic style Barbados rum, which also adheres to McCoy's strict regimen of never adulterating the rum with added sugars, flavors or perfumes. The resulting rum is artisan crafted in small batches, using a rare combination of column and pot still distillate, and authentically aging in American oak ex-bourbon barrels. The goal? Make a rum that actually lived up to the name "The Real McCoy®."

As a result of hard work and determination, Bailey’s documentary film went on to win 5 Emmy® Awards and Richard has won ‘Rum Producer of the Year’ at the prestigious International Spirits Challenge (ISC) Awards eight years in a row (2016-2023). In 2018, Richard also made the history books when his rum won “Supreme Champion” over all other spirits at the ISC Awards. This is the first time in history that a rum was recognized as the Supreme Champion spirit in the world - then he did it again in 2021.