Frankfort, KY – Kentucky Gov. Paul E. Patton proclaimed the second week of March as “Kentucky Bourbon Heritage Week” today at the state capitol in a ceremony featuring the display of a rare George Washington distillery letter from 1799. The letter, owned by the Distilled Spirits Council, discusses Washington’s successful distillery operation at Mount Vernon and is one of a few pieces of correspondence in existence that highlights the founding father’s occupation as a distiller. “Today we celebrate the heritage of a great American industry that George Washington help start more than two centuries ago at Mount Vernon,” said Peter Cressy, President of the Distilled Spirits Council. The Council, along with the Kentucky Distillers Association and senior representatives of the major Kentucky Bourbon manufacturers joined the governor for the announcement of the proclamation. Within a few years of George Washington’s death, the distilled spirits industry migrated to Kentucky, lured by the state’s favorable climate and abundant supply of corn, rye, barley and limestone water. “Clearly, Kentucky is the crown jewel of America’s distilled spirits industry,” Cressy added. “Today Kentucky Bourbon is sought after throughout the world for its fine quality and distinctive flavor.” The Kentucky distilled spirits industry is a major contributor to the state’s economy generating close to $2.3 billion in direct economic activity and employing 31,000 Kentuckians either directly or indirectly through the state’s distilled spirits industry.