The Hansen Clan was forged from the fires of World War One, Prohibition and the Great Depression that followed.
Out of those decades emerged an iron-willed family whose strength of resolve was matched only by its love for one another, for their craft and for the fiercely independent spirit that has shaped their Western Canada homeland.
It began with an exodus from the American Badlands where the Hansen ancestry had originally settled. Embracing a new century and the hope it promised, they boarded a train at different times and traveled toward a better life until the railway ran out of tracks in the midlands of Alberta.
That’s where Carl, a widowed single father of one, met Amanda. Both had fled from their homeland with their families. Both sought refuge in a devoted partnership. And on a warm summer’s eve, over an ice cream at a baseball game, Carl and Amanda met and fell in love. And the Hansen legacy was born.
Soon after they married and had two more sons, the Hansens began making moonshine.
Not like some big crime family, profiteering on US Liquor laws.
No. This was about survival.
It was the depths of the Depression. Carl was working odd jobs, but like everyone, struggled to make ends meet and fend for his young family. They were proud people—they didn’t take handouts, even in the hardest of times.
So they made moonshine to help put food in their boys’ mouths and clothes on their backs.
Amanda made the shine in a shed out back. She used ingredients they had available around the farm and distilled only the best of the batch.
News spread quickly of the fine Hansen hooch.
So Carl made it available at socials and dances, keeping Amanda safely at bay from any potential danger. He would stash the shine and give close friends the location once the coast was clear.
The little enterprise got them through the dust bowl summers and cold, dark winters of those Dirty Thirties. But only one thing could get Canada and the world out of the Depression itself. That was the Second World War.
As terrible as that next chapter in history was, it allowed the Hansen Clan to finally fulfill the dream that brought their families to North America in the first place—it meant they could farm full time again. Their big moonshining days were over.
Of course, they didn’t pack up the still entirely.
That would have been a terrible waste and when you’ve lived through what the Hansen Clan endured in those hard years, nothing ever went to waste.
So they continued to make small batches, shared with family and friends on special occasions and then passed down Amanda’s recipe from generation to generation—all the way to great grandchildren, Kris and Shayna.
And that’s how the Hansen Legacy lives today.
It’s called The Hansen Distillery. Open for business once again after 85 years.
Please join us in continuing the legacy, won’t you.