If you're like me—always in search of an epic last minute gift idea—allow me to present the Whiskey Rebellion Trail (WRT). This unique-to-the-region experience is made up of four cities, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., and Baltimore, in addition to many towns and rural areas in-between. It was created by a group of craft distillers and visitors’ organizations throughout the region to highlight the dynamic contributions of the region to the history of American spirits and the exciting rise of award-winning craft distilleries in the area. Naturally, the Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency (WCTPA) jumped at the opportunity to get involved in a project so near and dear to our heritage.
On the Whiskey Rebellion Trail website, you can choose from a variety of curated passes that spotlight four regions based on geography and history or choose a comprehensive pass that includes stops in all four regions. Passes are delivered instantly to your phone via text message or email with nothing to download. The message allows you the option of adding the pass to your mobile phone home screen for easy access. Complete your pass by visiting the included distilleries and/or museums.
Of course we're partial to the Pittsburgh Whiskey Tasting Pass which includes a tasting flight voucher at Liberty Pole Spirits, a tour at Bradford House Museum, and a whiskey cocktail voucher at the annual Whiskey Rebellion Festival among other tasty regional experiences. See below for a full rundown on everything included in the Pittsburgh Whiskey Tasting Pass.
So grab a pass or two and plan your trip today! While you're in town, keep an eye out for paintings of our nation's first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. I'll bet you'll find that most were hung upside down showcasing the county's rebel spirit and disdain for the man responsible for the ill-advised federal excise tax on whiskey of 1791.
For additional background on the history of the Whiskey Rebellion in Washington County, here's Clay Kilgore, Executive Director of the Washington County Historical Society.
Bradford House MuseumBack to Top of List
Step over the threshold of the Bradford House Museum and into imagined life in late 18th century America – the scurry of servants, the conversations of David Bradford and his clients in the parlor, the hushed chatter of ladies examining a bolt of crimson silk. Docents dressed in 18th century clothing entertain and inform as they detail the structure itself, from its thick stone walls, original mahogany banister, and twelve-foot ceilings to its antique Chippendale and Hepplewhite furnishings.
It is the doings of the Whiskey Rebellion (a grassroots challenge to the newly-formed federal government), though, that provides the mystique. Did David Bradford and his colleagues really examine stolen mail at the dining room table? What brought the young United States to the brink of civil war between East and West? Why was the tax on whiskey such a flashpoint? Think on these things as you stroll through our new Whiskey Rebellion Education and Visitor Center. We are living history on Main.
Additionally, the Bradford House Museum is located on the Historic National Road, and within blocks of the museum, there are two whiskey distilleries, a craft beer distillery and a winery. So, come spend the day in downtown Washington, PA, as we remember the Whiskey Rebellion.
Liberty Pole SpiritsBack to Top of List
In 1791, one of the first American Industries was born: Whiskey.
For years, the grain that wasn't consumed was preserved in the form of distilled spirits. It was safer to drink than contaminated water and improved the spirits of friends and neighbors. Through the imposition of an excise tax on whiskey, the grain farmers used their whiskey to barter for goods. Whiskey-making provided their best chance to survive, which is why farmers secretly met and vowed to stick together and not pay the tax. These farmers called themselves the Mingo Creek Society and planted Liberty Poles throughout the county where years later, they are preserved as a story of their defiance. Today, the Liberty Pole is displayed on the label of each whiskey bottle we create, distilled in the famous Mingo Creek Meetinghouse, symbolizing the loving appreciation for a craft that once again brings livelihood to a proud community.
- Tasting Flight Voucher
Whiskey Rebellion FestivalBack to Top of List
REBEL like it’s 1794 ! at the Annual 4 Day Whiskey Rebellion Festival in historic downtown Washington Pennsylvania, held on the second weekend of July.
This unique festival celebrates the historic significance of the rebellion of 1791-1794 and how the Whiskey Rebellion helped shape American history.
On Saturday At the Festival
Experience: The 18th Century as it comes to Life
with Live Historical Street Theater and Re-enactments. The festival features day long and evening Americana music performances on Friday and Saturday including, Blues, Swing, Bluegrass, Jazz, Celtic, and all types of American Folk music traditions. Those over 21 can take the Rebellion Tasting Tour and sample Craft Spirits from 16 of Pennsylvania’s top distilleries or stop in the Blue Eagle Tavern for adult libations. Visit the historic home of David Bradford, a leader of the rebellion or stop in at the historic LeMoyne House. Join one of the Historical Walking Tours, enjoy the festival’s food and craft vendors, explore the History & Heritage Fair and visit with dozens of historical organizations. Also, for our younger visitors there’s the Lil’ Rebels Heritage Area with day long entertainment and family fun activities.
Take the shuttle to Schneider’s Fort and see cannon and musket demonstrations. Experience a battle re-enactment between the Whiskey Rebels and the Federal Militia. Visit with 18th Century re-enactors and craftspeople including, a Native American encampment and 18th Century frontier life interpreters. For the younger set, there’s a Frontier petting zoo & pony rides.
Did you say Tar? Make sure you are on Main Street at 5pm Saturday as we have the annual historical re-enactment of the tar & feathering of a whiskey excise tax collector. It’s all fun and games... until the chocolate syrup comes out!
On Sunday At the Festival
Experience: The 18th Century Church come to Life
with an 18th Century Church Service re-enactment. Gain a better understanding of the role and the importance that the local churches and religious organizations had in the Whiskey Rebellion. Enjoy a day long celebration with family activities, music, food and craft vendors.
Join the Whiskey Rebellion Festival in Washington PA, just south of Pittsburgh for a day or the entire weekend.
- Whiskey Cocktail Voucher
Also Included in the Pittsburgh Whiskey Tasting PassBack to Top of List
Golden Eagle Inn
Come in and check out our upstairs Whiskey Bar!!! The Downstairs Pub at the Golden Eagle Inn offers a warm and intimate locale for visitors and locals alike to enjoy each other, imbibe in their libation of choice and enjoy delicious high end pub fare.
- Whiskey Flight Voucher
- 25% Off An Overnight Stay
Lawrenceville Distilling Co.
SIZE MATTERS. We’re not afraid to admit that our stills are small. It might take us a little longer to make each batch, but small stills put your spirits up against more copper. More copper means a smoother finish and less aftertaste.
- Cocktail Voucher
Distillery offering a line of raw cane rums and craft cocktails in Pittsburgh's historic Strip District.
- Spirit Flight Voucher
RESPECT THE PAST. DRINK TO THE FUTURE. This is no ordinary distillery because the future is no ordinary place, but one of adventure and exploration. At Quantum Spirits, we are harnessing the potential of science and technology to reinvent the way spirits are made.
- Tasting Flight Voucher
Tall Pines Distillery
Moonshine and whiskey manufacturer and tasting room.
- Spirit Flight Voucher
West Overton Village and Museums
Take in the heritage and discover the impact of Western Pennsylvania farmers on modern American Whiskey in our educational distillery. This stop on the American Whiskey Trail will engage your senses as we show you the process from seed to sip! Step onto the grounds and into the past, as you're surrounded by 20 historic buildings set on over 30 of the original acres Abraham Overholt, his wife Maria, and their 8 children owned and managed.
Visit this intact pre-civil war village located in the beautiful Laurel Highlands. On our docent-led tours, you will see and learn about the original structures dating to 1803 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- General Admission
- $5 Off Purchase Of $25
Woodville Plantation, the John and Presley Neville house, is Southwestern Pennsylvania’s principal link to the late 18th century, interpreting the time period of 1780-1825 and documenting the lives of the three families that resided there, the Nevilles (1775-1815), the Cowans (1815-1835), and the Wrenshalls (1835-1975).
- General Admission