VIP ticketholders are invited to take part in an exclusive discussion forum at 5:50 PM featuring master distillers Steve Bashore, Dave Pickerell, and Lisa Roper Wicker. During this educational session, VIPs will also be given the rare opportunity to taste Mount Vernon’s limited line of rye whiskeys. Dave, Steve and Lisa will also be available for questions and tastings during the general admission portion of the event.

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Steve Bashore

Steve Bashore is the Director of Historic Trades at George Washington's Distillery at Mount Vernon, where 18th-century methods and recipes are used to create rye whiskey. The distillery was reconstructed 10 years ago based on archaeological excavations and historical records. Since 2009, it has produced limited quantities of Washington's rye whiskey using his original mash bill.

Steve and his team have been supported by a number of talented distillers, including Joe Dangler, Jimmy Russell, Dave Pickerell, Lisa Roper Wicker, Thomas McKenzie, Fred Noe, Ted Huber and others. He completed a special single malt whisky project in 2012 with distillers from Glenmorangie, Cardhu and Laphroaig.

Steve will discuss the traditional 18th-century methods employed at the distillery. Attendees of the discussion forum will be able to taste what differentiates a modern spirit from one made the old fashioned way!

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Dave Pickerell

Dave Pickerell is nicknamed the “Johnny Appleseed” of the American craft whiskey movement. After 14 years as master distiller with Makers Mark, Dave has become a consultant for many small craft distilleries. 

He has had a hand in establishing award-winning American whiskey brands such as Whistlepig, Hillrock Estates, Corsair, and even George Washington’s Rye Whiskey, which was recreated using 18th century techniques at the Mount Vernon distillery, restored in 2009.

He is a chemist, an engineer, an educator, and a fountain of knowledge for the American whiskey industry.

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Lisa Roper Wicker

Lisa Roper Wicker has worked with Limestone Branch Distillery, Preservation Distillery and Starlight Distillery and continues to consult for many new and thriving craft whiskey distilleries. Her current clients include the Samson & Surrey portfolio, Widow Jane, Philadelphia Distilling, Few Spirits, and Brenne whiskey. 

Lisa has worked with George Washington's Distillery at Mount Vernon since 2016, streamlining its fermentation and mashing processes. With Steve Bashore, she has been working to help adapt and improve upon the distilling practices once employed at the distillery in the late 18th century.

Her focus on locally-produced heirloom varietals of grain, efforts on her behalf to deal directly with farmers and maltsters, and her continued work with barrel management is revealing substantial progress for all her clients. Lisa’s expertise is applied to judging national spirits competitions, participating as a guest speaker at events across the country and through her consulting work.