The Distilled Spirits Council’s 14th annual “Spirit of Mount Vernon” heritage dinner and rare spirits auction held last night on the lawn of Mount Vernon raised over $380,000 for Mount Vernon and $50,000 for the Wounded Warriors Family Support Program.  This brings the grand total for the history of this event to nearly $4 million.
“It has been a great honor for the spirits industry to support Mount Vernon’s educational programs,” said Peter H. Cressy, President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS), which sponsored the gala.  “George Washington was not only a great leader, General and President, but he was also a savvy entrepreneur and the most successful whiskey distiller of his time.  Our partnership has helped to raise awareness of the entrepreneurial spirit of our nation’s first president and demonstrate the important role of spirits in our nation’s history.”
The live auction featured an extremely rare set of bottles of George Washington’s Distillery Single Malt, both #1 of 30 of the “Distillers’ Reserve” and “Limited Edition,” which sold for $26,000.  This first-ever Single Malt was made at George Washington’s Distillery by a select team of Scottish and American distillers in March 2012 using 100% Scottish malted barley.  The whisky was aged at Mount Vernon for a total of three years in both used Bourbon casks re-coopered in Speyside, Scotland, and in its final months in Madeira wine barrels, a favorite at Washington’s table.
The gala dinner was attended by over 800 guests, including members of Congress, Ambassadors, CEOs of major trade associations, industry leaders and the media.  In addition to DISCUS, the event is sponsored by the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, American Bakers Association, American Bankers Association, American Beverage Association, American Trucking Associations, International Dairy Foods Association, International Franchise Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Association of Manufacturers, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
George Washington Spirit Society Inductees Honored:
During the event, three new members were inducted into the George Washington Spirit Society.  The 2015 inductees include: The Honorable Todd Young (R-IN); Carmine Martignetti, President and Co-Owner of Martignetti Companies; and Connie Tipton, President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association.
“The George Washington Spirits Society exists to celebrate, manifest and uphold the noble traits and high standards exhibited by our Founding Father,” said Cressy.  “The spirits industry is honored to celebrate the outstanding contributions of these three exemplary leaders who have each in their own way helped to enrich and inspire their communities, their state or their country.”
The Honorable Todd Young
U.S. Representative Todd Young, a three-term Congressman from Indiana, has distinguished himself by his exemplary service to his state and country.  Graduating with honors from the U.S. Naval Academy, he served his country for five years as a United Stated Marine Corps Officer, rising to the rank of Captain.  As a member of Congress, he serves on the prestigious House Ways and Means Committee.  He has also served on the House Budget Committee and the Armed Forces Committee.
Representative Young has been a strong advocate for the hospitality industry and is working to reduce the heavy tax burden on hardworking distillers throughout America.  He has been an effective advocate for national defense focusing on sea powers, electronic warfare and grand strategy.  The Congressman works tirelessly for fair trade laws and tax relief that benefits American families, and he is a candidate for U.S. Senate from Indiana in the 2016 elections.
Mr. Carmine Martignetti
Mr. Carmine Martignetti, President and Co-Owner of Martignetti Companies, a leading wine and spirits distributor in New England, has distinguished himself by his extraordinary leadership of the beverage alcohol industry and his remarkable service to his community.  He serves as a member of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America Executive Committee. Martignetti’s commitment to education and philanthropic contributions have been equally remarkable.  He supports several community schools, is an active Trustee and supporter of Boston College, and is presently serving as the Chairman of the Board at the prestigious Tabor Academy, an independent boarding school in Marion, MA.
In addition, Martignetti is an ardent supporter of the arts and music and is presently Vice Chair of the internationally famous Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Connie Tipton
Ms. Connie Tipton, President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association has distinguished herself by her remarkable leadership of the international dairy foods industry and the Washington, DC association community.  Highly respected on Capitol Hill, Tipton has successfully led several efforts to reduce government regulations that impaired dairy product marketability.
A smart and energetic community leader in the Capitol Hill residential district, she has been instrumental in the restoration and redevelopment of historic Eastern Market and Barracks Row, which has added greatly to the sense of community.
Tipton serves on numerous historical, educational and advocacy boards and has been Chair of The Bryce Harlow Foundation.  Her association and charitable leadership have resulted in numerous awards.  She is a dedicated and effective supporter of Mount Vernon.
“Guardian of His Spirit”
Each honoree was inducted as a “Guardian of His Spirit.”  Honorees were selected by the Board of Trustees of the George Washington Spirit Society, which is comprised of representatives from America’s leading distillers and Historic Mount Vernon.
The awards were presented by the Honorable Dirk Kempthorne, a two-term Governor of Idaho, former U.S. Senator and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and the Honorable Frank Keating, a two-term Governor of Oklahoma, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, former U.S. Associate Attorney General and former Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
In a separate ceremony, Clinton F. Wheeler III, Vice President of Business Development and Corporate Programs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was posthumously recognized for his tireless and longstanding support of the “Spirit of Mount Vernon” gala by Curt Viebranz, President of Mount Vernon.
Previous inductees of the George Washington Spirit Society include: Ambassador W. L. Lyons Brown, Jr.; General Alfred M. Gray, USMC (ret.); A. Raymond Tye; Charles Bailes, Jr.; Harvey R. Chaplin; The Honorable Jim Bunning; Herman I. Merinoff; Harold A. “Hal” Gershman; Bill Samuels, Jr.; The Honorable Tommy Thompson; The Honorable Ron Lewis; Judge Ruth Sussman (posthumously); Raymond Herrmann, Jr.; Paul S. Walsh; Marvin R. Shanken; William Goldring; Sidney E. Frank (posthumously); The Honorable James E. Clyburn; Baroness Jean Coussins; Thomas J. Donohue; Robert Epstein; William Wirtz (posthumously); The Honorable Tom Harkin; The Honorable Frank Keating; Patrick Ricard; Esther Vassar; Bennett Glazer; The Honorable Shelley Berkley; Red Cavaney; The Honorable John E. Jones III; Vern Underwood, Jr.; Apolo Ohno; James L. Bareuther; Jeff Becker (posthumously); The Honorable John Yarmuth; The Honorable Harold D. Rogers; The Honorable Dan A. Gwadosky (posthumously); Douglas J. Hertz; Richard Leventhal; Robert M. Selby; James C. Rees IV; The Honorable Heidi Heitkamp; The Honorable Dirk Kempthorne;  Alan W. Dreeben; The Honorable Dave Camp (R-MI); Christophe Navarre, Chairman and CEO of Moët Hennessy; and Charles Merinoff, Chairman and CEO of Charmer Sunbelt Group.