CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Acting just in time for the first president's birthday celebration, Virginia lawmakers approved a measure allowing a restored distillery at Mount Vernon to sell the straight rye whiskey that George Washington once brewed. Talk about a shot heard 'round the world.
The distillery is supposed to open March 31 and it will use Washington's own handwritten recipe. Visitors to Mount Vernon will be allowed to buy a small sample. The Distilled Spirits Council, the trade association for the nation's liquor and wine makers, financed much of the distillery reconstruction project, which cost $2.1 million. There's a lot of information and photos HERE.
Washington had the distillery built in 1797, after the Revolution, and the 2,250-square foot structure was huge for its time. He made 11,000 gallons of whiskey in 1799 and racked up sales of $7,500, which was big money. In 2003, Washington's recipe was used for the first time in 200 years to make whiskey, and it was a hit. Now it can go out to a wide market of tourists and aficionados. Wonder if they'll ever serve it at Buckingham Palace?
Washington was an early booster of Ohio, and owned thousands of acres in the territory. Revolutionary soldiers settled the state after they were given land grants for serving in the war that won independence from Great Britain. Cincinnati and Marietta on the Ohio River are among Ohio's earliest cities, and Cincinnati takes its name from Cincinnatus, the Roman general who left his farm to save his country, then returned to his farm. Washington did as Cincinnatus -- he went back to Mount Vernon after serving his nation and farmed. And made a little booze on the side.