George Washington’s Distillery celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, wrapping up a full decade of educating visitors about Washington’s entrepreneurship and innovation. Mount Vernon opened the facility in 2007 thanks in part to a $2.1 million grant from Distilled Spirits Council of the United States which allowed Mount Vernon to excavate, research, and reconstruct the site to be as historically accurate to Washington’s original distillery as possible. In 2010, Mount Vernon began producing small batch spirits at the Distillery using George Washington’s recipe.
George Washington’s Rye Whiskey® is the most authentic version of the first president’s whiskey available today. Earlier this year, it was named the official state spirit of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The same grain recipe (60% rye, 35% corn, and 5% malted barley) is used during the distilling process. It is mixed and fermented in 120-gallon oak barrels and double distilled in copper pot stills, just as it was done 200 years ago.
Although Washington’s rye whiskey was not aged, the Distillery has since expanded its spirits offerings to include an aged rye whiskey and apple and pear brandies. Mount Vernon has sold more than 23,600 bottles of whiskey and brandy and 8,000 whiskey gift sets, raising more than $2 million in revenue that benefits the ongoing preservation and restoration of Mount Vernon and its educational programs.
From April through October, the Distillery site—located about 3 miles south of the estate—is open for visitors to tour and learn about the 18th-century distilling process. The Distillery has served as a popular destination for whiskey enthusiasts and history buffs, welcoming more than 394,000 visitors since its opening.
George Washington began commercial distilling in 1797 at the urging of his Scottish farm manager, James Anderson, who had experience distilling grain in Scotland and Virginia. In 1799, the distillery produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey, making it one of Washington’s most profitable endeavors. For more details, click here.