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Distilled Spirits Council Hosts 15th “Spirit of Mount Vernon” Heritage Dinner and Rare Auction

September 22, 2016 10:00 AM

Sen. Mark Warner and Peter Cressy Inducted into George Washington Spirit Society


The Distilled Spirits Council’s 15th “Spirit of Mount Vernon” heritage dinner and rare spirits auction held last night on the lawn of Mount Vernon raised more than $300,000 for Mount Vernon. This brings the grand total for the history of this event to more than $4 million. 

“The distilled spirits community is honored to support Mount Vernon’s educational programs,” said Kraig R. Naasz, President & CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council, which sponsored the gala. “Our partnership showcases the entrepreneurial spirit of George Washington, who was the most successful whiskey distiller of his time, and theimportant role of spirits in our nation’s history.”  

The live auction featured two extremely rare sets of bottles from George Washington’s Distillery. The first set was bottles #1 and #2 of the first run of George Washington’s Distillery small-batch apple brandy, which sold for $6,000. The first apple brandy produced at Mount Vernon in more than 200 years was made with apples known to have been grown at Mount Vernon during Washington's lifetime – Hughes Crab, Newton Pippin and Roxbury Russetts. The pressed juice was fermented and then double distilled in pot stills at George Washington’s Distillery. The apple brandy was aged two years and four months in American oak barrels and hand bottled at Mount Vernon. 

The second set was the George Washington’s Distillery Single Malt, both bottles #3 of 30 of the “Distillers’ Reserve” and “Limited Edition,” which sold for $7,000. This first-ever Single Malt was made at George Washington’s Distillery by a select team of Scottish and American distillers in March 2012 using 100 percent Scottish malted barley. The whisky was aged at Mount Vernon for a total of three years in both used Bourbon casks re-coopered in Speyside, Scotland, and in its final months in Madeira wine barrels, a favorite at Washington’s table.

The gala dinner was attended by more than 700 guests, including members of Congress, Ambassadors, CEOs of major trade associations, industry leaders and the media.  In addition to the Council, the event was sponsored by the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, American Bakers Association, American Beverage Association, American Council of Life Insurers, International Dairy Foods Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Association of Manufacturers, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federationand George Washington’s Mount Vernon. 

George Washington Spirit Society Inductees Honored:

During the event, two new members were inducted into the George Washington Spirit Society. The 2016 inductees include: The Honorable Mark Warner and Dr. Peter Cressy, former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Distilled Spirits Council.

“The George Washington Spirits Society exists to celebrate, manifest and uphold the noble traits and high standards exhibited by our Founding Father,” said Naasz. “The spirits community is honored to celebrate the outstanding contributions of these two exemplary leaders who have each in their own way helped to enrich and inspire their communities, their state and our nation.”

The Honorable Mark Warner

U.S. Senator Mark Warner was elected to his second term of office and currently serves on the Senate Finance, Banking, Budget and Intelligence committees. During his time in the Senate, Senator Warner has established himself as a bipartisan leader who has worked with Democrats and Republicans alike to cut red tape, increase government performance and accountability, and promote private sector innovation and job creation. Senator Warner has been recognized as a national leader in fighting for our military men and women and veterans, and in working to find bipartisan, balanced solutions to address our country's debt and deficit. Prior to coming to the U.S. Senate, he also served as the Governor of Virginia. The first in his family to graduate from college, Mark Warner spent 20 years as a successful technology and business leader in Virginia before entering public office. An early investor in the cellular telephone business, he co-founded the company that became Nextel and invested in hundreds of start-up technology companies that created tens of thousands of jobs. 

Dr. Peter Cressy

Dr. Peter H. Cressy, former president and chief executive officer of the Distilled Spirits Council, has distinguished himself by his extraordinary leadership of the beverage alcohol sector and his remarkable service to his country. A distinguished educator and retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral, Cressy helped change the face of the alcohol industry. Cressy led the Council with a strong commitment to social responsibility, sound science and a relentless pursuit of cultural acceptance and normalization.  Under Cressy, Prohibition era alcohol laws across the country were modernized, resulting in a six-point gain of market share, worth $630 million to distilled spirits suppliers annually.

Also under his leadership, the Council and Historic Mount Vernon built a remarkable relationship that resulted in the reconstruction of the historic George Washington Distillery, and this annual dinner which has raised more than $4 million for the education programs at Mount Vernon. Prior to leading the Council, Admiral Cressy was Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and President of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. During his 28-year Navy career, he held senior positions at the State Department, on Capitol Hill amd at the Pentagon. He concluded his naval career as Commander, Fleet Air Mediterranean and Commander, NATO Air Mediterranean during Operation Desert Storm. Dr. Cressy also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Bureau of Shipping.


“Guardian of His Spirit”

Each honoree was inducted as a “Guardian of His Spirit.” Honorees were selected by the Board of Trustees of the George Washington Spirit Society, which is comprised of representatives from America’s leading distillers and Historic Mount Vernon. 

Previous inductees of the George Washington Spirit Society include: Ambassador W. L. Lyons Brown, Jr.; General Alfred M. Gray, USMC (ret.); A. Raymond Tye; Charles Bailes, Jr.; Harvey R. Chaplin; The Honorable Jim Bunning; Herman I. Merinoff; Harold A. “Hal” Gershman; Bill Samuels, Jr.; The Honorable Tommy Thompson; The Honorable Ron Lewis; Judge Ruth Sussman (posthumously); Raymond Herrmann, Jr.; Paul S. Walsh; Marvin R. Shanken; William Goldring; Sidney E. Frank (posthumously); The Honorable James E. Clyburn; Baroness Jean Coussins; Thomas J. Donohue; Robert Epstein; William Wirtz (posthumously); The Honorable Tom Harkin; The Honorable Frank Keating; Patrick Ricard; Esther Vassar; Bennett Glazer; The Honorable Shelley Berkley; Red Cavaney; The Honorable John E. Jones III; Vern Underwood, Jr.; Apolo Ohno; James L. Bareuther; Jeff Becker (posthumously); The Honorable John Yarmuth; The Honorable Harold D. Rogers; The Honorable Dan A. Gwadosky (posthumously); Douglas J. Hertz; Richard Leventhal; Robert M. Selby; James C. Rees IV; The Honorable Heidi Heitkamp; The Honorable Dirk Kempthorne;  Alan W. Dreeben; The Honorable Dave Camp (R-MI); Christophe Navarre, Chairman and CEO of Moët Hennessy; Charles Merinoff, Chairman and CEO of Charmer Sunbelt Group; The Honorable Todd Young;Carmine Martignetti. President and Co-Owner of Martignetti Companies; and Connie Tipton, President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association.



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