George Washington’s whiskey

Two years after its first batch of whiskey was distilled, George Washington’s distillery was the biggest in the country. The distillery was mismanaged by Washington’s nephew and destroyed in a fire in 1814. A project to rebuild the distillery began in 1997, and in 2007, the distillery was rebuilt. They distill twice a year and sell extremely limited releases to the public.

Washington was, at first, hesitant to jump into a new business venture—after all, at 65 years old, he had wanted to spend his retired years in relative peace, but after hearing Anderson’s proposal, as well as corresponding with a friend who was involved in the rum business, Washington acquiesced. That winter, Anderson began distilling in the estate’s cooperage, using just two stills (pots used for distillation). The first distilling was so successful that Washington approved plans for construction of a full-fledged distillery, complete with five stills. The distillery finished construction in 1798, and by 1799, it was the largest whiskey distillery in the country. That year, the distillery produced 11,000 gallons of clear, un-aged whiskey, which Washington sold for a total of $1,800 ($120,000 by today’s standards).

More on the process and the whiskey in the Washington Post.

George Washington’s whiskey