Information on:

George Washington's Distillery and Gristmill

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway

George Washington's venture into the whiskey business began at the urging of his farm manager, James Anderson. Anderson, who had been involved in the distilling industry in Scotland before immigrating to America in the early 1790s, was convinced that a distilling business would round out Mount Vernon's complement of economic ventures - and generate substantial profits. Ever the discriminating businessman, Washington proceeded cautiously but allowed Anderson to purchase two stills and set up a small operation in the cooperage next to the gristmill in early 1797. The result was the production of six hundred gallons, sold for a good profit. Encouraged, George Washington agreed to construct a large distillery over the winter of 1797-1798. The new distillery was 75 feet by 30 feet and contained 5 copper pot stills, a boiler, and all required equipment for large-scale whiskey production. In 1799, the year of Washington's death, the distillery produced nearly 11,000 gallons, making it the largest whiskey distillery in America at the time.

Washington's merchant gristmill, erected in 1770-1771, was capable of producing 5,000 to 8,000 pounds of flour and cornmeal a day. Over a period of 29 years, Washington's wheat crops were turned into flour for overseas markets, and the corn ground at the gristmill was used to feed the slave population and paid staff, as well as the Washington family and their frequent guests.  In the fall of 1791, Washington learned of the newly patented automated milling system invented by Oliver Evans. Evans received U.S. Patent #3 for his groundbreaking system, which moved wheat and flour throughout the mill without the need of manual labor. Washington purchased a license for the patent and had the milling system installed in his gristmill. Today, this milling system is faithfully interpreted, fully-functioning, and open to guests on a seasonal basis.


Kaylie Phillips

Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018
Wow! The view from the back porch is amazing. I also loved how you can explore the entire are by yourself. There are lots of signs to give you information about what you are seeing. We paid for the National Treasure your and it didn’t disappoint. This was definitely a highlight of the trip. We went on a Wednesday and got there when they opened so had some quiet time looking around before it began to get busy. I’m so glad the Ladies Association group was able to preserve this important part of our history.


Monday, July 16, 2018
Really enjoyed my experience here. The staff really do their best to make everything as comfortable for you as possible from paying rent to requesting maintenance. The office ladies are super sweet. My neighbors were great too. I really lucked out in getting the place I got. Also love that there is more grass and trees than at many other apartments. If you’re looking for an apartment in the area, I highly recommend Mount Vernon.

Erin Harris

Monday, Aug. 6, 2018
My family visited Mount Vernon on a Saturday morning in July. We really enjoyed talking with the character interpreters. We learned a great deal. My mother uses a wheelchair. Some of the paths were a bit steep with the chair, but it was well worth it to allow us to explore the grounds on our own. Much more than just the historical home of our nation’s first president—as if that weren’t enough—it was a great opportunity to help the children understand more about a long-ago time. We had tickets to have tea with the two Martha’s and got to talk with both character interpreters interpreting Martha Washington at two different points in her life. Although the tea event does not repeat regularly, no visitor to Mt Vernon should miss the chance to learn from the brilliant women interpreting Ms Washington’s character.

Maria Pettis

Monday, Aug. 6, 2018
Loved visiting here. I would highly recommend getting there early and getting an early time for the house tour, then explore the rest of Mt. Vernon at your leisure. I also wish I had bought the guide book when we arrived. It gives great details about what you are actually seeing. It's worth the $10 and is a nice keepsake of our visit.

Chell Broadhead

Monday, June 11, 2018
George Washington’s - Mount Vernon, is a must see while traveling in the DC area. The grounds are immaculate and have been restored beautifully to match what they have found to be historically correct. I found the property clean and well maintained and would wear walking shoes and plan to spend 2-3 hours at this location. If you are wheelchair bound you will need assistance going up and down the hills as there is a lot of gravel that makes navigating it difficult on your own. If you are traveling with young children you might want to skip the feature film they share in the welcome center it’s well done but they share some gruesome death scenes and it is about 25 minutes long. The film is great if you know little to nothing about the history of George Washington I would spend the time to watch it. You need to plan to go early in the day if you want to have a shot at touring the main house - it’s a long wait and you need time tickets to enter. There is an upper and lower garden with houses that line each side from slave quarters to horses stables. The tomb site is worth seeing it’s a bit of a walk but be sure to stop and pay respects. There is a store, place to eat and restrooms on the facility.

George Washington's Distillery and Gristmill is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media