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.
1,000 bottles of the unaged George Washington Rye Whiskey will be available for sale Friday, May 16, at 10 a.m.
Learn more about George Washington's Mount Vernon distillery and the 18th century process used to make whiskey.
Learn more about the production of whiskey at George Washington’s distillery at Mount Vernon – the largest distillery in America at its time.