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June 30, 2011 02:34 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A rare, 18th century letter penned by the first President and country’s most famous distiller, George Washington, will be on public display for the first time at the George Washington Distillery at Mount Vernon in honor of the July 4th holiday weekend.  The public display coincides with the release of a limited George Washington Rye Whiskey produced at the distillery and based on the founding father’s recipe.

The letter, in which Washington describes his successful distillery operation, is one of only a few pieces of correspondence known in existence that discusses Washington’s distillery.

Just prior to his death in 1799, Washington wrote the letter to his nephew, Colonel William A. Washington, a noted cavalry commander during the Revolution.  In the letter, Washington stated “the demand…is brisk” for his locally produced Rye Whiskey and requested his nephew’s assistance in procuring additional grain for the distillery. 

“We are entrusting this rare distillery letter to Mount Vernon to help educate the public about George Washington’s entrepreneurial spirit and his role as a leading distiller in early America,” said Peter Cressy, President of the Distilled Spirits Council whose organization owns the letter and acquired it for $18,800 at Christie’s, the New York auction house.

Limited Edition Rye Whiskey Goes on Sale July 4th 

As part of Mount Vernon’s July 4th festivities, 400 bottles of the limited edition18th century style George Washington Rye Whiskey will be available for purchase starting at 10 a.m. at Mount Vernon’s main gift shop and at the Distillery site, located three miles from the estate. 

The limited edition run was produced in the reconstructed distillery according to the General’s own grain recipe discovered by historians in the mansion’s extensive records.  Each 375 ml bottle will retail for $95 and must be purchased in person.



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