Welcome to Founding spirits

Know Your Farmer. Know Your Distiller.

A farmer-owned distillery? Yup. Founding Spirits is majority owned by American family farmers and their values are at the heart of our distilled spirits. Every step of the process, from grain to glass, shows our commitment to farmers, hiqh-quality ingredients, and handcrafting premium products. We have custom-built our very own micro-batch distillery in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C. Led by our dynamic and adventurous duo, Jon Arroyo and Bob VanLancker, these modern-day distilling wizards are cultivating unique and tasty spirits that preserve the true flavors that come from the wheat, barley, and rye, including the North Dakota and Virginia grains from farmers we know, like Mark & Michelle Watne of Watne Farms and the late Billy Dawson’s team at Bay’s Best Feed. Our flavorful spirits can be enjoyed on their own and are equally delicious in cocktails.

We invite you to come experience our distillery and award-winning spirits for yourself. Founding Spirits distillery tours are available on Saturdays by reservation, and walk-ins are accepted pending availability. Each tour accommodates up to eight guests, and includes: six spirit tastings, a cocktail, and a few delicious bites. So come on in, take a look, have a sip (or six) of our spirits, and snack on some yummy food while learning about our approach to distilling. You can purchase a bottle to take home with you. Founding Spirits is also available online and at fine retailers across DC, Maryland, and Delaware. Be sure to ask for Founding Spirits at your favorite bar or restaurant, including enjoying Founding Spirits on site at Farmers & Distillers.


These guys are talented and skilled when it comes to all things liquid. Jon Arroyo has an uncanny knack for craft cocktails and more than a decade of experience overseeing the award-winning bar & beverage program for Farmers Restaurant Group. Bob VanLancker has spent years bartending and managing bar programs and knows the difference that great spirits make. They were both drawn to distilling in pursuit of creating great cocktails and are now crafting award-winning Founding Spirits.

Learn more about Jon
Learn more about Bob

Our spirits

Founding Spirits Vodka

Made with the purest ingredients in the heart of DC by Jon Arroyo and his team, we distill our vodka with the aristocrat of wheat, Dark Northern Spring, more commonly known as Hard Red Spring Wheat. Harvested on the Watne’s family farm in North Dakota, this grain is a trademark of excellence in the world of wheat due to its high-protein and high-quality. Mark, Michelle, and their family are fourth-generation wheat, corn, barley, and soybean farmers. Mark also serves as president of the North Dakota Farmers Union. We use the ND wheat, as well as rye and barley harvested by Bay’s Best Feed in Heathsville, VA.

Find our Founding Spirits Vodka in these cocktails:

Cape Codder Spritz

Founding Spirits Vodka | Our Virginia Vines Rosé | Cold-pressed Cranberry Juice | Lime | Orange Essence | Seltzer

Sex and the City

Founding Spirits Vodka | Cointreau | Cold-Pressed Cranberry Juice | Founding Spirits Clementine Bitters


Founding Spirits Dry Gin

Handcrafted in the heart of our nation’s capital, our American Dry Gin is distilled in small batches using grains from farmers we know and trust. We wanted to create the best dry gin perfect for a martini with a twist and a gin & tonic. And we have done it. Founding Spirits Dry Gin pours easily across our fair city and beyond, offering a rich bouquet of chamomile, bergamot, and mint that combines complexity and unexpected comfort. This is the bottle you bring… when you want to get invited back.

Founding Spirits Arroyo’s “Never Bitter” Amaro

Throughout his travels to South America and Europe, Jon Arroyo fell in love with digestifs and aperitifs. He made it his mission to bring the magic of the before and after dinner drink home to the U.S. While amaro can have an intimidating reputation of being too bitter, Jon and his team set out on a journey to make an approachable spirit that everyone can enjoy. Our amaro can only be described as delicious and “never bitter,” as the name suggests.


Find our Founding Spirits Arroyo’s “Never Bitter” Amaro in these cocktails:


Founding Spirits Arroyo's "Never Bitter" Amaro | Skol Aquavit | 'The FUNK' Jamaican Rum | Patrón Citrónge | Lemon Juice | Coca-Cola

Jungle Bird

Founding Spirits Arroyo's "Never Bitter" Amaro | Plantation Dark | Campari | Lime | Cold-Pressed Pineapple


GW Limited Edition Founding Spirits “Never Bitter” Amaro

Honey from The George Washington University Apiary – located on a campus rooftop in downtown Washington, D.C. – sweetens this unique, inaugural batch of our award-winning, Founding Spirits Arroyo’s “Never Bitter” Amaro. We help fund the GW Undergraduate Honey Bee Research Laboratory & Apiary project working to protect honey bees and their role in the diversity of the world’s food supply and our ecosystem. Founding Spirits made this unique spirit in celebration of GW’s research, the miraculous honey bee, and the deliciousness that we get from their hives.

Founding Spirits American Whiskey

All great things take time. We’ve been working on our handcrafted, true American Whiskey since we began our distilling adventures in 2009. Pot stilled and barrel aged for at least 18 months at Copper Fox Distillery – using our good friend and farmer, the late Billy Dawson’s Virginia-grown corn, wheat, barley, and oats – we proof, blend, and bottle our American Whiskey in-house at Founding Spirits. Our unique, small-batch blend has a rich, smooth, and earthy taste that can be enjoyed many ways. We think you will agree, it was well worth the wait.

Find our Founding Spirits American Whiskey in these cocktails:

American Whiskey Buck

Founding Spirits American Whiskey | Lemon | Ginger | Cane Syrup


Founding Spirits American Whiskey | Founding Spirits Arroyo's "Never Bitter" Amaro | Campari


Book a tour


Tours are postponed until further notice.

Tours are postponed until further notice.

Reserve a Table for Brunch Before or After Your Tour


You know what goes great with a tour? A reservation at Farmers & Distillers afterwards.

Reserve a Table


Book a tour