August 15, 2008, - 2:27 pm

Drink George Washington’s Whiskey

By Debbie Schlussel
Early last year, John Fund wrote a very interesting piece on George Washington’s Distillery. It’s been reconstructed near his Mount Vernon home, and Fund wrote about how Washington’s distillery was probably the #1 producer of whiskey in all of colonial America:

When it came to his own future career as a distiller, Washington paid careful attention to the business. Mount Vernon owns the original financial ledger for the operation. This was no retiree’s hobby; the ledger shows many important local families were customers and made the distillery very successful. The good times ended after Washington’s sudden death in 1799 at age 67. His distillery passed into the hands of other owners and by 1814 had been dismantled to provide construction materials for nearby homes.


Had Washington lived longer, who knows how big his infant whiskey operation could have grown? At the dedication of the rebuilt distillery, Mr. Rees spoke of what might have been: “If Washington had lived another five or maybe 10 years, I think one of his descendants would be sitting right there, in this audience, right next to the other CEOs of the nation’s best distilleries.”
But today’s whiskey barons have nothing to fear from a new Mount Vernon-sponsored whiskey line. Mr. Rees says he plans to limit the new output of Washington’s brew to a few commemorative bottles that will raise money at auction for Mount Vernon’s educational programs–which attract over a million visitors a year to the historic site and the new museum complex next to it.

Fund tried the whiskey and liked it. Now, you can try it, too, get your commemorative bottle, and tour the facility. From today’s USA Today Food Dispatches:

Take a swig of Washington’s whiskey
Now everyone has a chance to drink like a Founding Father.
Whiskey created at George Washington’s reconstructed distillery near his home at Mount Vernon, Va. – once the largest whiskey distillery in the fledgling USA – is on sale on the premises and in the mansion’s gift shop. For $25, spirit connoisseurs receive a 50-milliliter bottle (the size of an airplane mini) of a limited-edition blend of 11 American whiskeys vatted and bottled on mansion grounds. It’s 121 proof, so modern-day drinkers are advised to cut it with water. A shot glass is included.
Built on the grounds of Washington’s original distillery, the George Washington Distillery is 3 miles south of Mount Vernon and is open from April through Oct. 31. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-11 and free for children 5 and under (discounts apply when combined with a Mount Vernon trip). Information: 703-780-2000 or

Read more about George Washington’s Distillery here and here.


Check Out the Real George W’s Whiskey

6 Responses

As I am currently reading my third biography of George Washington, and I now understand why the teachers union basically ignores George.
After reading about his life, one can imagine how he would approach the problems of our time….

NickFury on August 16, 2008 at 12:03 am

Washington was a true patriot and a warrior. I bet that whiskey chilled him out nicely. I prefer 1800 tequila myself. Whiskey will do in a pinch.

samurai on August 16, 2008 at 12:29 am

Not only this, but Harvard–back when it began as a Bible college preparing men for the ministry–even had a brewery on campus.
Myself, I’ve never liked alcohol–the smell and taste are both gross. Besides, it seems that moderation is something far too few practice.

richardzowie on August 16, 2008 at 9:50 am

George was a bit of a hypocrite about whiskey – ever heard of The Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, and how he and his government troops put it down?

OldSchoolW on August 16, 2008 at 1:44 pm

If i had my own distillery i’d have been dead a long time before that:)

EminemsRevenge on August 17, 2008 at 1:06 am

OldSchoolW: There was no hypocrisy involved, at least not as far as I can tell. The Whiskey Rebellion was about whiskey producers refusing to pay the federal tax on whiskey. When George Washington produced whiskey, he did pay the tax.

Joshua on February 7, 2010 at 3:08 pm

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