WASHINGTON, DC – The spirits industry raised nearly $200,000 for Mount Vernon’s educational programs tonight at the second annual dinner and auction of commemorative spirits bottles tapped from barrels being aged at Mount Vernon, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. More than 750 guests, including 50 members of Congress, U.S. Department Secretaries, Ambassadors and the media, gathered on the lawn of the Mount Vernon mansion for an evening reception, dinner, special auction and fireworks hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America and Historic Mount Vernon. “Tonight, as we celebrate George Washington’s leadership, service and entrepreneurship, we also celebrate an industry that values integrity, heritage and responsibility,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter H. Cressy. The money raised from the auction will be used to support Mount Vernon’s national educational initiative, “To Keep Him First.” 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. Dinner, Auction Raises $200,000 For Historic Mount Vernon Bottles sold at the auction came from barrels tapped last year 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. To mark this year’s event, a team of renowned Master Distillers gathered this morning at the distillery site to make historically authentic whiskey using a recipe taken from plantation records. The whiskey, which was distilled over an open flame in a replica of the 18th Century pot still on display at the Smithsonian Institution, represents the first whiskey made at Mount Vernon in over 200 years. The whiskey will be aged at Mount Vernon and auctioned off in future years. “If produced today, Washington’s whiskey would be widely available to Americans from the Potomac to the Mississippi to the Pacific thanks to a network of alcohol distributors who are efficient and trustworthy partners to our local communities,” Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America CEO and event co-sponsor Juanita Duggan said. “WSWA and our members are pleased to join our producer partners in raising nearly $200,000 to honor the spirit and hospitality of our nation’s founding president.” In addition to this annual fundraising event to support Mount Vernon’s educational programs, the distillers and wholesalers have donated $1.3 million to the restore George Washington’s distillery on its original site. The archaeologists currently working on the distillery site, which is located adjacent to George Washington’s gristmill on Dogue Creek, expect to complete the project by 2006. Photos available of the dinner/auction and the earlier distilling event