What Did George Washington Do after His Presidency?

America’s first president was 65 when his eight years in office came to an end. George Washington was looking forward to a laid-back retirement at his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia, but his plantation manager, James Anderson, had a different vision. Anderson thought that Mount Vernon was the perfect spot for a whiskey distillery, with its abundance of fresh water, access to plenty of rye, and a state-of-the-art grist mill. He persuaded Washington to take the plunge. Mount Vernon’s whiskey became a big seller and a very profitable endeavor. The distillery cranked out nearly 11,000 gallons (41,640 liters) in 1799 alone, and was considered to be one of the nation’s top producers at the time.

A toast to a presidential distiller:

  • This wasn’t the aged whiskey sold today. “Everything was a white whiskey back then,” explains Mount Vernon spokesman Steve Bashore, “They wanted it to get to the stores, the markets and taverns quickly.”

  • The whiskey produced by America’s founding father wasn’t targeted at an elite clientele. “It was a common whiskey for a common man,” Bashore says.

  • In 2009, the old Mount Vernon distillery was refurbished and rebuilt, and whiskey began to flow there again. Bashore says that all fermentation and distillation work is done using 18th-century methods.

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As a drinker of 'clear' whiskey for a few decades now I'll say that it never disappointed me in the least. --Shane

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