As some of you may know, George Washington, after his presidency, operated a commercial-scale distillery on his Mount Vernon estate. His estate manager was a Scot who suggested the distillery, as the farm already had a gristmill and grew all the necessary grains. The distillery operated from 1797 to 1800 and was one of the largest of its day, with five stills.

I spoke recently with Dennis Pogue, the Associate Director, Preservation, at Mount Vernon. He mentioned that Washington documented all of his farm activities thoroughly. An interesting fact he told me is that Washington sold three grades of whiskey. His "common" whiskey was double-distilled and sold for 60 cents a gallon. His higher grades were either triple- or quadruple-distilled and sold for up to $1.00 a gallon. He also flavored some of his whiskey with cinnamon.