Mount Vernon, Va. – A single rare bottle of George Washington’s Distillery Straight Rye Whiskey signed by former president George H.W. Bush, fetched $35,000 for Historic Mount Vernon’s educational programs at a gala auction on the mansion grounds last night sponsored by the Distilled Spirits Council.  (PHOTOS: Former President Bush Signs Bottle [large]Bottle Signed by Former President George H.W. BushFormer President Bush Signs Bottle [small])

The winning bidder was John R. Frank, Vice Chairman of Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc. of New Rochelle, NY, whose company imports JÄGERMEISTER and Tommy Bahama Rum, and developed the luxury vodka Grey Goose.

The bottle of George Washington’s Straight Rye whiskey, number five of a limited edition of 24 bottles, was the first ever made at the distillery of one President and signed by another. It was produced on October 21, 2003 on the distillery grounds by a team of master distillers according to the historic recipe found in George Washington’s mansion records, and hand-bottled on September 26, 2006.

“There has been no better way to highlight the rich heritage of distilling in America and to increase cultural acceptance of the industry than by supporting the George Washington’s Distillery,” said Frank.

The Council’s annual heritage dinner on the lawn at Mount Vernon, supported by the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, raised in total over $300,000 to support Mount Vernon’s education programs and was attended by over 700 Washington notables including the Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and over 30 members of Congress.

Separately, the distilled spirits industry has donated over $2.1 million for the archaeology and reconstruction of the first President’s distillery, which is now open to the public from April through October, and is the only site in North America to accurately showcase 18th century distilling techniques.