January, 1798 : George Washington established a gristmill to produce flour and cornmeal. In 1791, Washington's farm manager, James Anderson, suggested he build a distillery. By 1797, Washington's distillery was the largest in America and by 1799 it produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey a year. The photo above is Washington's meticulous plan for rotating crops on one of his Mount Vernon Farms.
Source: American History. Feb2004, Vol. 38 Issue 6, p64-78. 11p.
January, 1785 : President George Washington signed off on a whiskey delivery to Potomac Company employees. The Potomac Company was created to improve the navigability of the Potomac River, improving infrastructure with the goal of linking the East Coast to Ohio via tributaries. The Maryland Historical Society has an invoice signed by George Washington himself, requesting over 40 gallons of whiskey for the workers.
Source: Maryland Historical Society
, 1780 : Historians agree that almost all of Kentucky's original distillers, started distilling in their native colonies - Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia - first. The letter above, for example, is written to a lawyer in Bedford County, Virginia. A citizen is seeking financial assistance because his rye and malt burned on the kiln!
Source: Crowgey, H. (2008) Kentucky Bourbon. They Early Years of Whiskey Making. University Press of Kentucky.