WASHINGTON, DC – The liquor industry raised $170,000 for Mount Vernon’s educational programs tonight at a dinner and auction of the first commemorative bottles tapped from barrels being aged at Mount Vernon, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. More than 500 guests, including members of Congress, Ambassadors and the media, gathered on the lawn of the historic home of our First President for an evening reception, dinner, special auction and fireworks. “During the height of George Washington’s distillery operation in 1799, Washington produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey yielding a profit of $7,500. Tonight, the spirits business was once again booming at Mount Vernon, raising $170,000 to help keep our Founding Father’s spirit alive,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter H. Cressy. The money raised from the auction will be used to support the ongoing reconstruction of George Washington’s actual distillery and Mount Vernon’s national educational initiative, “To Keep Him First.” The initiative is aimed at closing the information gap among Americans, particularly youths, about the nation’s first president. The lively auction, led by celebrity auctioneer Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), featured commemorative bottles of whiskey and Rum including: Casa Bacardi (Bacardi), Cruzan Rum (Todhunter), George Dickel (Diageo), I.W. Harper (Diageo), Jack Daniel’s (Brown-Forman), Maker’s Mark (Allied Domecq), Mount Vernon Whiskey (Future Brands/Jim Beam) Platte Valley (McCormick Distilling), Very Old Barton (Barton Incorporated), Virginia Gentleman (A. Smith Bowman), Wild Turkey (Pernod Ricard) and Woodford Reserve (Brown-Forman). Each bottle displayed a medallion commemorating George Washington’s distillery and many also included unique Mount Vernon labels specially approved by the U.S. government for the event. Bottles sold at the auction came from barrels tapped earlier at the site of the distillery. The barrels, which were being aged at Mount Vernon, were first shipped down the Potomac River to Mount Vernon in May 2001 as part of a distillery groundbreaking ceremony. “The spirit of George Washington is not only alive and well – it’s stronger than ever in our country today,” said Juanita Duggan, CEO and Executive Vice President of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc. “George Washington would be amazed by the selection and convenience of alcohol products consumers now enjoy. We’ve certainly come a long way from rolling barrels down to the Potomac. Washington’s legacy – started here at Mount Vernon – is an honorable tradition our members embrace and are proud to continue.”