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“Spirit of Mount Vernon” Industry Heritage Dinner and Rare Spirits Auction Raises $350,000

September 30, 2013 By: Nightclub & Bar


Distilled Spirits Council of the United StatesThe Distilled Spirits Council’s 12th annual “Spirit of Mount Vernon” heritage dinner and rare spirits auction held on the lawn of Mount Vernon raised $275,000 for the new Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington and $75,000 for the Wounded Warriors Family Support Program. This brings the grand total for the history of this event to over $3 million.

“It has been a great honor for the spirits industry to support Mount Vernon’s educational programs,” said Peter Cressy, President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council, which sponsored the gala. “George Washington was not only a great leader, General and President, but he was also the most successful 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 a bottle of George Washington’s Straight Rye whiskey, number 22 of a limited edition of 24 bottles that was the first ever made at the distillery.  The rare bottle, which sold for $23,000 to a generous bidder, 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.

The gala dinner was attended by over 700 guests, including members of Congress, state legislators, embassy officials, government leaders, industry executives and the media. Co-sponsors included the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, American Bankers Association, International Dairy Foods Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

During the event, three new members were inducted into the George Washington Spirits Society. The 2013 inductees include: U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, former Governor and Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and Alan W. Dreeben, a leading wholesaler and philanthropist.

“The George Washington Spirits Society exists to celebrate, manifest and uphold the noble traits and high standards exhibited by our Founding Father,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter H. 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, the spirits industry and the country.”

U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp

The Honorable Heidi Heitkamp, U.S. Senator from North Dakota, has distinguished herself by her remarkable service and leadership at both the state and national level.  A first-term member of the U.S. Senate and the first female Senator elected from North Dakota, she sits on numerous Senate Committees, including Agriculture, Banking, Indian Affairs and Homeland Security. 

She was North Dakota’s Attorney General from 1992 to 2000 and also served six years as the state Tax Commissioner.  In addition, Heitkamp served for many years as a leading Advisory Board member of the spirits industry’s social responsibility foundation, The Century Council. 

The Honorable Dirk Kempthorne

The Honorable Dirk Kempthorne has distinguished himself by his superlative service and leadership at the municipal, state and national level.  He has served as a two-term Governor of Idaho, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior in the George W. Bush Administration, former U.S. Senator and former Mayor of Boise, Idaho. 

While Governor, Kempthorne also served as Chairman of the National Governors Association and focused particular attention on issues as diverse as early childhood education and international trade.  As Senator, he authored two strong bipartisan bills on state mandates and safe drinking water.  He currently serves as President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers. 

Mr. Alan W. Dreeben

Mr. Alan W. Dreeben, long-term partner and member of the Board of Directors at Republic National Distributing Company, has distinguished himself by his extraordinary service to his community, his state and the beverage alcohol industry.  A remarkable supporter of education, he is a Director of the Texas State University Foundation, Trustee of the University of the Incarnate Word and former Board member of several Texas Universities. 

His philanthropic and charitable efforts have been equally remarkable and have included the American Cancer Society, the Jewish Community Campus, the San Antonio Museum of Art, Santa Rosa’s Children’s Hospital Foundation and the United Way. 

“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 Spirits Society, which is comprised of representatives of America’s leading distillers and Historic Mount Vernon. 

The awards were presented by the Chairman of the Wounded Warrior Family Support Program, retired Lieutenant General John Sylvester, a decorated veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star in Vietnam and the Silver Star during Operation Desert Storm.  Also presenting the awards was Mount Vernon Regent Ann Bookout, who has led the development and building of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. 

Previous inductees of the George Washington Spirits 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; 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 and James C. Rees IV.


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