DISCUS

GEORGE WASHINGTON BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION: Bill Passes Virginia Legislature Allowing Mount Vernon To Sell Historic George Washington Rye Whiskey

February 15, 2007 07:00 PM

Mount Vernon, VA – Timed for the national observance of George Washington’s birthday, the Virginia House of Delegates has followed the Senate in passing legislation yesterday allowing Historic Mount Vernon to sell small amounts of commemorative spirits as part of the reconstructed George Washington's Distillery, the Distilled Spirits Council announced today.

“I’m pleased to play a role in revitalizing a piece of Washington’s legacy,” said Virginia State Senator Linda T. "Toddy" Puller, the bill’s sponsor.  “We recognize the importance of keeping Washington’s spirit alive – in all respects – and proudly support the efforts of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.”

Under Virginia law, the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control operates state stores to sell distilled spirits. Senate Bill 807, which passed the Senate Jan. 17 and now goes to the governor, enables Mount Vernon to receive a special Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control (VABC) store designation allowing visitors to purchase samples of George Washington’s Straight Rye Whiskey and other special historic products when the distillery opens to the public on Saturday, March 31. 

“By allowing us to sell George Washington's rye whiskey, our visitors will be able to taste an authentic flavor of the 18th century, while learning more about Washington's entrepreneurial spirit,” said Dennis Pogue, Chief Historian at Historic Mount Vernon.

Pogue noted that Washington erected the 2,250 square foot distillery in 1797, making it among the largest whiskey distilleries in early America. In 1799, Washington produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey, worth the then-substantial sum of $7,500.

In 2003, for the first time in 200 years, George Washington’s own whiskey recipe was distilled by a team of master distillers, representing America’s most celebrated spirits brands, in collaboration with Mount Vernon’s historian, under special license from the Federal Government and the State of Virginia. 

“I want to commend Senator Puller and the legislature for enabling Mount Vernon to share George Washington’s historic spirits with a wider audience of tourists and whiskey aficionados,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy. 

The Distilled Spirits Council and its member companies, with the support of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, have been the major donors to Mount Vernon for the $2.1 million project to excavate and reconstruct the historic distillery.

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