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George Washington operated the largest distillery in America at its time. Learn more about the Mount Vernon distillery and its importance to Washington's economy.

In 1797, George Washington hired a Scottish plantation manager, James Anderson, who encouraged him to build a whiskey distillery next to his gristmill.  This distillery was the largest in America and produced almost 11,000 gallons of whiskey in 1799.  Five copper pot stills produced whiskey using Washington’s original mash bill (60% rye, 35% corn and 5% malted barley) which was then sold to neighboring farmers and in Alexandria.  It was one of the most successful business enterprises at Mount Vernon.

When George Washington died in 1799, an inventory listed peach, apple and persimmon brandy, plain whiskey, and cinnamon whiskey stored in the Mansion’s basement.  It is thought that all these items were made at Washington’s distillery and served to guests.  Today, the two-story stone distillery is reconstructed and operates seasonally, mashing, fermenting and distilling grain as it was done in the eighteenth century.