It’s been 10 years since the George Washington Distillery at Mount Vernon reopened—and, arguably, since the rye-naissance started to accelerate. To mark the milestone, distillers from across the country gathered at the restored eighteenth-century production facility to craft a limited edition 10th anniversary rye whiskey.
“In 10 years, rye whiskey’s sales have gone up 900 percent,” Kraig Naasz, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council, said at a media event at the distillery last week. “Growth of rye has benefited America’s farmers; producing distilled spirits is the very essence of value-added agriculture.”
The event featured top American whiskey distillers, including: Fred Noe, Jim Beam (Kentucky); Elizabeth McCall, Woodford Reserve (Kentucky); Wes and Kyle Henderson, Angel’s Envy (Kentucky); Bruce Russell, Wild Turkey (Kentucky); Ted Huber, Starlight Distillery (Indiana); Brett Carlile, Woodinville (Washington State); Becky Harris, Catoctin Creek (Virginia); Matt Hofmann, Westland Distillery (Washington State); Gordon Working, MGP (Indiana); Ewan Morgan, Diageo; Dave Pickerell, Hillrock/WhistlePig (New York/Vermont); and Steve Bashore, George Washington’s Distillery (Virginia).
Pickerell recalled a Distilled Spirits Council event about 16 years ago when the distillery reconstruction project was first announced.
“I really believe that that was the turning point when rye started its march back to prominence,” Pickerell said.