For Immediate Release
April 17, 2013
MOUNT VERNON, VA – To keep pace with the brisk demand for its handcrafted rye whiskey, George Washington’s Mount Vernon is partnering with another historic enterprise, Hillrock Estate Distillery, to expand its licensed whiskey production and distribution beyond the first president’s Virginia distillery. Working from George Washington’s original recipe for rye whiskey, the Ancram, New York-based Hillrock Distillery is joining forces with Mount Vernon to expand production and distribution of the authentic 18th-century spirit by introducing “George Washington’s Rye Whiskey—Estate Edition” to the Chicago market. This special-edition unaged whiskey will be available in Chicago at select Binny’s locations beginning April 22, in honor of WhiskyWeek. The suggested retail price is $70 for each 375 ml bottle.
“The General’s whiskey has captured the hearts of many ever since a generous gift from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States allowed us to put our distillery back into operation. We are partnering with Hillrock because we simply can’t make enough of our product at George Washington’s Distillery to meet the demand,” said Mount Vernon’s president, Curt Viebranz.
In 2003, a team of Master Distillers representing member companies of the Distilled Spirits Council in collaboration with Mount Vernon’s Historic Trades staff, gathered at the archaeology site of George Washington’s Distillery to distill a batch of historically authentic George Washington Rye for the first time in 200 years. Six years later, in 2009, Mount Vernon produced the first batch of whiskey that it would make available for public purchase.
Since then, Mount Vernon distillers have spent hundreds of hours refining the distilling process, increasing production and efficiency at each turn. However, Mount Vernon is only able to produce a very limited amount of whiskey on site each year. In addition to the limitations of time-consuming 18th-century tools and techniques, the production season is also limited to months when visitation is low and when the site is closed to the public.
Although the Hillrock-produced whiskey differs slightly from Mount Vernon’s product—which will continue to be produced at the George Washington’s Distillery and sold exclusively by Mount Vernon as “George Washington’s Premium Rye Whiskey”—similarities abound. Hillrock’s distillers use pot stills and other 18th-century and colonial-inspired equipment to hand-produce and hand-bottle the whiskey. Also, each bottle produced at Hillrock contains an aliquot of whiskey made at George Washington’s Distillery, perfectly blended for a unique taste of history.
In addition to sharing a rye recipe and a philosophy towards whiskey production, Mount Vernon and Hillrock also share a master distiller, Dave Pickerell. Formerly with Maker’s Mark, Pickerell has directed his time and talents towards this expanded distribution for several months.
“Partnering with Hillrock allows us to offer a taste of our historic whiskey to a wider audience without fundamentally changing the historic character and the fascinating story that makes the product so unique,” said Viebranz.
“It was inspiring to bring George Washington’s Rye recipe to the Hillrock Estate Distillery. The historical and geographical connections made this an ideal collaboration,” said Pickerell. “Similar to the General’s rye, this new spirit is crystal clear with notes of spice and freshly harvested grain in the nose. The taste is slightly sweet with lots of traditional rye spiciness, and carries a warm and crisp finish.”
George Washington’s Distillery was the largest 18th-century whiskey distillery known in early America. Hillrock Distillery currently creates 1,000 cases per year with the capacity to create substantially more. Hillrock is one of the few field-to-glass producers globally as well as the first U.S. distillery since before Prohibition to floor malt and hand craft whiskey on site from estate-grown grain.
To accompany the launch, Mount Vernon introduced a new dedicated web page, MountVernon.org/Whiskey, which describes the history of the distillery site through pictures, video, and an interactive timeline, and provides a platform to keep customers connected, offering news about upcoming whiskey releases and related topics.
Following this launch in Chicago, Hillrock plans to work with Mount Vernon to expand distribution of George Washington’s Rye Whiskey – Estate Edition to other cities in the United States. To learn more about upcoming distribution locations, sign up for updates on Mount Vernon’s website: MountVernon.org/Whiskey, or join the estate’s social media networks.
About George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Since 1860, more than 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon the most popular historic home in America. Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853. Located three miles south of the estate, George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill produces grain products powered by a 16-foot waterwheel and the same rye whiskey that made the Founding Father the nation's most successful whiskey producer in the years after his presidency. George Washington’s Gristmill highlights his vision for America’s future as “granary to the world;” while his Distillery is the only site in North America that demonstrates 18th-century distilling from seed to barrel. Destroyed in a fire in 1814, the distillery reopened in 2007 after a multi-million dollar reconstruction made possible by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
About Hillrock Distillery
Just like Mount Vernon in George Washington’s era, we are proud to be one of the few “field-to-glass” whiskey producers in the world, Hillrock is also the first U.S. distillery since before Prohibition to floor malt and hand craft whiskey on site from estate-grown grain. Hillrock’s first offering, Solera Aged Bourbon, has won a variety of medals and notable scores from top spirits competitions both nationally and internationally.
Hillrock Estate is located two hours north of New York City in the historic Hudson Valley town of Ancram, NY. The estate features an 1806 Georgian house, built by revolutionary war captain and grain merchant Israel Harris, overlooking the Distillery and 100 acres of farmland growing heirloom varieties of rye and barley. The Distillery complex is comprised of the Malthouse, Granary and Visitor Center as well as the Distillery which features a custom made 250 gallon copper pot still. For more information visit www.hillrockdistillery.com