Did you know that George Washington operated one of the most successful whiskey distilleries in America in the late 1700s at George Washington's Mount Vernon.
One of the great origin stories of Virginia Rye Whiskey. There are now 24 distilleries in Virginia following George's lead and commercially producing Rye Whiskey.
At the suggestion of James Anderson, Mount Vernon’s Scottish farm manager, George Washington began distilling whiskey at his Dogue Run Farm in 1797. The success in the first year’s efforts, using two stills in his cooperage, led to the construction of a large purpose-built whiskey distillery built and operated by a skilled team of enslaved African-Americans. Constructed over the winter of 1797-1798, the distillery housed five copper pot stills and produced large amounts of rye whiskey in 1798 and 1799, making it Washington’s most profitable enterprise.
In 1799 alone, the distillery produced nearly 11,000 gallons of whiskey, likely making it the largest of its kind in America.
With the generous support of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and its members, the distillery was reconstructed on the original site, based upon archaeological and historical evidence. The project was completed in 2006, and in early 2007 the site opened to the public, offering tours in season, and making whiskey anew. (Story and images provided by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States) https://www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-gardens/distillery-gristmill/
The latest distillery to be added to the Virginia Rye Whiskey Trail is Rooster's Rise-n-Shine Distillery out of Franklin County, Virginia. Rooster's is named after the Hodges Family patriarch, Ronald "Rooster" Hodges. Building on a very long family tradition of whiskey making, Roosters Distillery has created an unique 90 Proof Virginia Rye recipe containing 56% rye grain, 25% wheat, and 19% malted barley. https://roostersdistillery.com/
In just 3 short years the list of Virginia Rye Whiskey producers has more than doubled, from 10 to 23.
The newest addition is JT Smith, a 4th generation maker of Virginia Whiskey, and the son of America’s Most Wanted Moonshiner, Tim Smith. He was first introduced to the world in 2011 as he learned his family’s heritage on the show Moonshiners airing on The Discovery Channel. These days he is following in his father’s footsteps as a business man, making a name and place for himself in that family heritage, introducing an old spirit to a new generation of drinkers.
JT Rye Whiskey is produced in a 1933 copper still on the family farm, Belmont, in Culpeper, Virginia.
This 93% rye, 7% malted barley whiskey is aged with Applewood chips and proofed at 88.
Stories about Virginia Rye Whiskey, its makers and supporting organizations and individuals. as well as related distilled spirits industry news.
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