After years of archaeological excavations, research, and planning, and almost two years of construction, Mount Vernon unveiled an authentic replica of George Washington's whiskey distillery in the spring of 2007. Open from April through October, visitors to the distillery may observe how whiskey was made by Washington's distillers, when his distillery was one of the largest in the nation.
While the distillery is fully operational, generally speaking the goal is to demonstrate the process of distilling rather than actually making whiskey. However, in the interest of historical research and to raise money to support our educational programs, over the years we have distilled and sold small amounts of spirits -- rye whiskey, on three occasions, and rum, on one occasion. Before the distillery was completed in 2007, we distilled using a small replica 18th-century pot still set up in a temporary furnace. Once the distillery opened we distilled 12 gallons of rye whiskey using one of the pot stills in the new building. Now we are planning to carry out a more ambitious round of distilling, aimed at producing up to 100 gallons of rye whiskey, with the product to be made available for sale to the public in a series of special bottlings.
Over the next few days we will be making preparations for the distilling -- acquiring and grinding the grain in the nearby reconstructed gristmill, cleaning the mash tubs, and many other tasks -- and we hope to begin distilling during the week of February 9th. Please come back and check on our progress!