George Washington's Distillery


Exterior of George Washington’s
Distillery. Painting by Ian Gray


Interior view of George Washington's
Distillery. Photo by Shannon Bell

In 1797 George Washington's farm manager, a Scot named James Anderson, convinced his employer that producing whiskey made from corn and rye grown on the plantation would be a natural complement to his milling business. Washington was initially skeptical, but soon granted permission to build the structure.

Washington erected the 2,250 square foot distillery -- 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. Upon Washington's death in 1799, the complex was passed down to a relative who apparently was not equipped to run it, and he rented it to a local operator. The distillery ceased operating in 1814 when the building burned. Not until 2000 did Mount Vernon begin the excavation and restoration of the distillery with a grant from the distilled spirits industry.


Prince Andrew & then-Attorney General Robert McDonnell (VA) cut the ribbon during the dedication of George Washington’s Distillery on September 27, 2006. Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy (left) and then-DISCUS Chairman and Barton Inc. CEO Andy Berk (right) look on.  Read More

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