For the first time ever, farming experts from around the world gathered at George Washington’s Distillery and ran a large scale production of rye whiskey using heirloom grains. It was done using historical distilling methods.
Head distiller Steve Bashore said the distillery typically gives a lot of educational tours, but right now it’s in production mode.
“When we’re making whiskey every day, we set mash — which is cooking grains — to ferment them, and then run five wood fire stills as they did in the 1790s here to create rye whiskey,” he said.
Mount Vernon is also celebrating the 250th anniversary of the gristmill, which is located right next to the distillery.
“The mill next door grinds the grains, so this is really an interesting site in that we have both of the buildings that were here in the 18th century,” Bashore said. “This is as accurate to 18th century distilling as you could see anywhere.”
Bashore shared why the background on the distiller is essential, saying it “was an important story of Washington the entrepreneur.”
The original distillery burned down in 1814 and was reconstructed after Mount Vernon was able to raise the money to fund the construction.
“It’s very accurate to what Washington had. Everything you see inside is laid out based on the archaeology,” Bashore said.