Posted on 11.24.14

Drink in History: Whiskey Production at Mount Vernon

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Photo Credit: George Washington’s Mount Vernon

It’s that time of year where local spirits fans (and history buffs) have a chance to drink in a bit of history at George Washington’s Mount Vernon distillery.  Eight hundred bottles of George Washington’s Eau de Vie peach brandy are now on sale at Mount Vernon — just in time for holiday entertaining, gift giving, and tours with your friends & family while they are in town for the holidays.

 

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Photo Credit: WTOP/Rachel Nania

George Washington’s venture into the whiskey business began at the urging of his farm manager, James Anderson. Anderson, who had been involved in the distilling industry in Scotland before immigrating to America in the early 1790s, was convinced that a distilling business would round out Mount Vernon’s complement of economic ventures – and generate substantial profits. Ever the discriminating businessman, Washington proceeded cautiously but allowed Anderson to purchase two stills and set up a small operation in the cooperage next to the gristmill in early 1797. The result was the production of six hundred gallons, sold for a good profit.

Encouraged, George Washington agreed to construct a large distillery over the winter of 1797-1798. The new distillery was 75 feet by 30 feet and contained 5 copper pot stills, a boiler, and all required equipment for large-scale whiskey production. In 1799, the year of Washington’s death, the distillery produced nearly 11,000 gallons, making it the largest whiskey distillery in America at the time.

The whiskey made at George Washington’s distillery is made using the same techniques and the same recipe Washington used to make and sell his whiskey. Its production is limited because it has to be made at times when there are no tours.


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 The clear, un-aged 375 ml bottles are available for $150 each. Photo Credit: WTOP/Rachel Nania

You can sign up HERE for the Mount Vernon Whiskey notification list.  In addition, you can tour the distillery.  George Washington’s Mount Vernon is open 365 days a year.  Contact information and details about tours can be found on their website.