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A. Smith Bowman Distillery

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art ()


The A. Smith Bowman Distillery is located in Spotsylvania County, near Fredericksburg, Virginia. Owned by the Sazerac Company, it is a micro-distillery specializing in the production of spirits. The building, once a cellophane plant, is now home to several stills and a warehouse in which bourbon whiskey, vodka, rum, and gin is distilled and aged. Visitors are invited to experience complimentary tours of the facility and sample premium, hand-crafted spirits.

Aging spirits in oak barrels at the A. Smith Bowman Distillery
View of "George," a unique custom-built still
Original distillery now abandoned


The A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Spotsylvania County, near Fredericksburg, Virginia, is a micro-distillery specializing in bourbon whiskey, as well as rum, vodka, and gin. It is dedicated to manufacturing premium, hand-crafted products that "honor the legacy and ground breaking spirit of Virginia's pioneers."1 The spirits produced at the distillery include multiple award-winners. For example, a limited edition Abraham Bowman Port Finished Bourbon won the title of "World's Best Bourbon" at the 2016 World Whiskies Awards North America.

Prior to Prohibition, the Bowman family made spirits from excess grain harvested from their own estate in Sunset Hills, Virginia. The adoption of Prohibition in 1920, which banned the production; importation; transportation; and sale of alcoholic beverages nationwide, interrupted operations until the 1933 passage of the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution. In 1934, Abram Smith Bowman and his sons built a more modern distillery, named Sunset Hills Farm, in Fairfax County.

The Fairfax distillery, founded the day after the Prohibition repeal, was the only legal whiskey distillery in the Commonwealth of Virginia until the 1950s. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been owned by the Sazerac Company since 2003. By 1988, rising taxes in Northern Virginia prompted the move to the current location, 60 miles away from the original site. Formerly, the building served as a cellophane plant run by the FMC Corporation.

The A. Smith Bowman Distillery houses several stills. In 2015, a unique custom-made still (affectionately named "George" after the father of the Bowman brothers) was installed alongside "Mary" (named for George Bowman's wife, Mary Hite Bowman). "George" is a 500-gallon hybrid pot still capable of creating whiskey as well as other spirits, including special experimental batches. The distillery also includes a large warehouse, where the whiskey is aged in new, charred oak barrels.

Open Monday through Saturday from 10 A.M.–5:00 P.M., the A. Smith Bowman Distillery offers complementary tours and tastings. The sampled products are available for purchase in the gift shop.


1. "A. Smith Bowman Distillery." A. Smith Bowman Distillery. Accessed August 26, 2016. "A. Smith Bowman Distillery." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed August 26, 2016. "Prohibition in the United States." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed August 26, 2016. Virginia Gorgan. "Front Porch Fredericksburg." Issuu, February 2015. Accessed August 26, 2016. "Yes, Virginia, there is a gentleman: A. Smith Bowman, Fredericksburg, Virginia", American Whiskey, September 29, 2004. Straub, Bill, "Bourbon Review: Virginia Gentleman Small Batch", Modern Thirst, June 9, 2014.

1 Bowman Drive
Fredericksburg, Virginia 22408
Phone Number
(540) 373-4555
Monday-Saturday: 10:00 A.M.–5:00 P.M. Sunday: Closed Hourly tours from 10:00 A.M.–4:00 P.M.
  • Food History
This location was created on 2016-08-26 by Angelica Garcia .   It was last updated on 2016-08-29 by Mike Emett .

This entry has been viewed 385 times within the past year


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