Information on:

Mount Vernon - 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.


Dennis Garrett

Monday, April 16, 2018
This place was awesome! The history behind the Washington house and farm was really super interesting and quite beautiful (even in a cloudy rainy day). The "exhibit/educational" portion was interesting and informative. You can see pretty much everything in a day, but it will take longer to "get everything"...if that makes sense. There's a restaurant there; didn't eat there so no review of that. There's also a good souvenir shop with lots of cool stuff. Definitely worth the trip!

Brandon DeLallo

Monday, April 9, 2018
The Book of Secrets your was fine, not sure if it's a "must-do" unless you love the movie. The tour guide was great and engaging, however. The house tour was cool, i wish I could have spent more time looking, felt a bit rushed through. For example- things were under repair, why? The basement had renovations, what was going on? The whole plantation is really incredible and a must do. I was fortunate to have had the morning there but wish I could have spent more time in the museum when we got done. Will go back again.

Sam Denzer

Sunday, May 13, 2018
Mount Vernon is a beautiful Manor estate that offers a great look into both the engineering and architectural genius of Washington's mind as well as his agricultural innovation. The walk around the estate is easy and is worth looking at the gardens, different functional buildings of the estate and just to enjoy the view. Great for family trips and anyone interested in history and George Washington. The on estate museum is really informative and intrigues anyone from a casual to devoted history buff. I am definitely going back

Angela Bedoya

Monday, May 14, 2018
We decided to visit Mt. Vernon on a rainy day because it was our last day in town but it didn't disappoint. You can spend the entire day there touring the facilities, walking through the museum and the education center. If you have kids, they will love it as the center also has hands on activities for them. I'd suggest start mid morning, walk the grounds, catch the guided tour of the estate, visit the gardens, and George Washington's vault (tomb). Then head to the restaurant for delicious food and end the day in the education center. Tons of history!

Mary O Ellett

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Mount Vernon was one of my favorite venues on our recent trip to the Washington DC area. Being a student of history and George Washington being one of my most admired studies. Visiting his home was a dream come true. This visit only helped solidify George Washington’s greatness in my eyes. His home, his love of the land, the way he lived an honorable life. Truly inspiring. The museum is very tastefully done. The shops offer items which make your visit more memorable. With plants from the gardens of the revolutionary America period. We didn’t have time to dine at the restaurant of ride the yacht which takes tours on the Potomac. I may have to plan another trip.

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