Announcing Our Bourbon

Founding Spirits is now distilling Bourbon!

Aged in oak barrels for at least two years, our Founding Spirits Bourbon is distilled from corn, rye, and barley from the heartland of our Nation. We think our bourbon is great on it’s own and especially good in our restaurant cocktails. We have developed an all new cocktail menu featuring some delightful and unexpected Bourbon cocktails you definitely don’t want to miss.

Stop by Farmers & Distillers or any of or our restaurants for a taste. Bottles of our all new Founding Spirits Bourbon can be purchased online and picked up in our DC & MD restaurants. We also ship to most states nationwide.

To get a taste of how we are enjoying our new bourbon, join us in our Founding Farmers and Farmers & Distillers restaurants to enjoy our new cocktail menu. If possible, we recommend making a reservation.

If you prefer to stay home, you can also pick up our bottled cocktails to go from our DMV locations.

Four More Awards for our Founding Spirits

Founding Spirits brought home some big wins – four SILVER awards –  from the spirit industry’s prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition and American Craft Spirits Association

The newest member of our spirited family, Founding Spirits Dry Gin, won SILVER, as did our Founding Spirits American Amaro, at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Two SILVER awards were also given to our Founding Spirits Vodka and Founding Spirits American Amaro at the 2020 American Craft Spirits Association’s seventh annual American Craft Spirits Awards: Judging of Craft Spirits.

With these four new SILVER awards, Founding Spirits has now garnered a grand total of nine awards in just over two years: 

To get a taste of our award-winning spirits for yourself, Founding Spirits is available for purchase at liquor stores throughout the DC and Maryland areas, and in Delaware, as well as online at Founding Spirits.com.

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition is one of the industry’s most highly competitive, influential spirit competitions. Their exceptional reputation among trade and consumers is built upon their commitment to three founding principles: Legacy. Integrity. Experience. This year, they had a record-breaking number of entries – a whopping 3,000 – from all corners of the world.

The American Craft Spirits Association is the only registered national non-profit trade group representing the U.S. craft spirits industry. For this year’s awards, a carefully selected group of more than 30 expert judges evaluated more than 500 craft spirit entries. 

Announcing Founding Spirits Dry Gin

We are excited to share some very big Founding Spirits news. We have distilled a great new spirit right here in the heart of our nation’s capital: Founding Spirits Dry Gin. 

For the past several years, we have been on a mission to create a superior dry gin for a perfect martini with a twist and an easygoing, classic gin & tonic. And we have done it. Distillery Director Jon Arroyo and Distillery Manager Bob VanLancker have created a classic, London-style dry gin.

Founding Spirits Dry Gin is distilled from North Dakota wheat, Virginia rye, and malted barley with a rich bouquet of botanicals, including chamomile, bergamot, mint, and lime zest. It is a medium-bodied dry gin, with a hint of spice, and a nice long finish. 

Like all of our spirits, we distill our Founding Spirits Dry Gin in small batches in our DC distillery, located in Mt Vernon Square. 

Looking for a way to get a taste of our great new spirit? 

  • Book a Tour & Tasting at our distillery in downtown DC for a sip & to see how we make it. 
  • Stop by the Farmers & Distillers bar to try it in a cocktail, and buy a bottle to take home with you. 
  • Try our Monumental Mule cocktail at the Capital One Arena during game days and other events. Founding Spirits is the official distillery of the arena
  • Ask for Founding Spirits at restaurants and bars across the DMV. 
  • Purchase a bottle of Founding Spirits Dry Gin online.
  • Grab a bottle at one of these fine retailers across the DC region and into Delaware. 
  • If you are in the industry, order Founding Spirits Dry Gin, as well as all of our spirits, wholesale through Breakthru Beverage Group and Prestige–Ledroit Distributing Co.

Once you have tasted it, please let us know what you think. Visit us on social @ InstagramTwitter, or Facebook

Founding Spirits is the Official Distillery for Capital One Arena

We are delighted to announce our partnership with DC’s Capital One Arena.

For the coming season, Founding Spirits is the Official Vodka, Dry Gin, and Official Distillery of Capital One Arena. This means more and more DC fans will be drinking DC spirits while cheering on their hometown heroes, attending concerts, and more. Founding Spirits is available across the arena for all events, at bars throughout the concourse, and in all Capital One suites. 

Looking for somewhere to pre-game? Join us at Farmers & Distillers for CAPS Hour before each home game. Enjoy food and drink specials at the bar, including a variety of delicious cocktails made with the spirit of Capital One Arena, Founding Spirits.

As the Official Distillery of Capital One Arena and makers of DC’s #1 local Vodka, Founding Spirits is available at many local restaurants and bars, including Jack Rose, Bluejacket, Hook Hall, Roy Boys, Serenata, The Game DC, and more.

Across our fine city, we’re pouring DC’s locally-made spirits to toast all of our teams, whether based at Cap One Arena or elsewhere. 

DC Fans Drink DC Spirit. Let’s go Caps and let’s go Wizards!

Where Our Vodka Begins

Our award-winning craft vodka has its roots in the Hard Red Spring Wheat fields of Minot, North Dakota. This particular grain, known and grown for its high quality, has been called the “aristocrat of wheat.” Ours is harvested on the Watne farm where Mark, Michelle, and their family are fourth-generation farmers. 

Our Distillery Director, Jon Arroyo, flew out to North Dakota recently to see the farm, meet the family, and connect with Mark Watne, who is also president of the North Dakota Farmers Union, which co-owns our distillery and Farmers Restaurant Group.

Check out this short video of Jon and Mark talking and sharing our story direct from those North Dakota wheat fields.


As a craft distiller of wheat and small-batch spirits, Jon was delighted to be standing in those wheat fields and talking to our wheat farmer and friend, Mark. For distillers, as well as other makers and bakers, being amidst the land where the raw ingredients are grown and talking to the people who grow them, takes their craft to a whole new level. 

Curious to taste what all these connected-to-the-source efforts produce in our unique vodka? Make a reservation and stop by any of our restaurants, take a tour of our in-house distillery located at Farmers & Distillers, or buy a bottle online. See if you can taste the difference.

We sure can.



Join our Dynamic Founding Spirits Team

Are you passionate about the art of distilling and handcrafted spirits? Do you have a knack for conversation and collaboration? Are you an organized, self-starter who likes to strategize and plan? Do you want to join a creative, motivated team shaking up the DC cocktail scene?

If so, our Founding Spirits team would love to talk with you and find out more.

Founding Spirits has won five industry awards for distilling, in our first year of operations alone. Our micro-distillery comes from the team that pioneered Farmers Restaurant Group, the DC metro area’s from-scratch, farmer-owned brand of restaurants, including Founding Farmers, Farmers Fishers Bakers, and Farmers & Distillers.

Building upon our commitment to handcrafted food and drink, and high quality, responsible sourcing of ingredients, Founding Spirits is led by the beverage industry’s award winning, Jon Arroyo. Jon and Distillery Manager, Bob VanLancker, have created a collection of spirits receiving international acclaim.

We are a creative, dynamic distilling team looking for a motivated, organized, collaborative, and knowledgeable new member. Our full-time Sales & Marketing Manager will be responsible for:

  • Growing awareness of the Founding Spirits brand
  • Expanding the brand’s evolving sales channels
  • Increasing product movement and development, and more…

We offer a competitive salary with performance-based bonuses and commissions; and company-supported health, dental, and 401k plans are available.

For more information and to apply, click here.

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity. Founding Spirits is already shaking up the local DC spirit scene, and looking forward to continued growth with the assistance of a new Sales & Marketing Manager.

A Spirited, Award-Winning Year in Review

It’s been quite an amazing year for our in-house, micro-batch distillery.

Custom-built inside Farmers & Distillers, Founding Spirits is the brainchild of our dynamic distilling duo, Distillery Director, Jon Arroyo, and Distillery Manager, Bob VanLancker. In our first year, Founding Spirits has received some of the most acclaimed international awards, been recognized by spirit connoisseurs across the world as a new distillery to follow, and has been featured at events in our nation’s capital and beyond. If that isn’t enough, we have also transitioned to selling our spirits online so you don’t have to live near one of our restaurants to get a taste of our award-winning spirits.

We know that part of what makes our spirits so special is that our farmer-owned, scratch-made, source-matters mission runs through all we do, even our craft spirits. Our family-farmed wheat is trucked to us from our co-owners, the North Dakota Farmers Union, for our award-winning Founding Spirits Vodka. The corn, wheat, barley, and oats come direct from our good friend and farmer, the late Billy Dawson, for our Founding Spirits American Whiskey. The honey for our limited-edition Amaro is harvested right here in downtown DC with our apiary partnership with The George Washington University.

This year’s awards & recognition have really put us on the craft spirits map. To date, Founding Spirits has won FIVE major industry awards. With Founding Spirits American Amaro winning four prestigious awards:

… and our Founding Spirits Vodka notably awarded BRONZE by the American Distilling Institute.

We were featured guests at the world-famous Tales of the Cocktail participating in two conference-sponsored tastings. We joined bartenders and spirit specialists from across the globe at the fourth annual Tiki by the Sea, teaching and training how to craft the best tiki cocktails. And we have enjoyed meeting, greeting, and serving our fans at events across the DC metropolitan area. Our Founding Spirits Vodka was the sponsored spirit for one of the nation’s biggest tennis events, DC’s Citi Open. We’ve served our famous Cucumber Delight to the delight of guests at DC’s biggest industry award gala, The RAMMY’s; hosted our very own Kentucky Derby celebration complete with our Founding Spirits Derby-inspired cocktails and a tasting with our award-winning team; and we served handcrafted cocktails and joined forces to support DC Central Kitchen, St. Jude, the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, and more.

We’ve been delighted to be able to offer our spirits for sale online this year too.

We couldn’t be more excited about the past year at Founding Spirits.

Come in and see (and taste) for yourself. Book a tour with us. Founding Spirits distillery tours and tastings are available Saturdays by reservations; walk-ins are also accepted pending availability. Or join us at Farmers & Distillers and have one of our expert cocktail specialists make you a Founding Spirits craft cocktail.

Founding Spirits can also be purchased at Farmers & Distillers, through multiple local retailers, and ordered online.

Our Amaro Wins AGAIN

Founding Spirits American Amaro won its fourth award earlier this month, a SILVER medal from the 2018 International Review of Spirits by Tastings, an affiliate of the Beverage Testing Institute.

Earning 86 points and highly recommended, Tastings gave a full description of our amaro with the award win: “Hazy mahogany color. Aromas and flavors of soft black licorice, chocolate sauce, proofing dough, cinnamon, and ginger powder on raisins, and cola syrup with a round, crisp, bittersweet medium body, and a peppery, interesting, medium-length oregano finish. A funky amaro to pair with a chocolate croissant.”

This latest award follows on the heels of a winning year for our less than two-year-old spirit. Our Founding Spirits American Amaro won GOLD and Best in 2018 from the American Distilling Institute and SILVER from the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Featured in several of our bar favorites, including the Negroni Swizzle at Farmers & Distillers and the Amaro Daiquiri at Founding Farmers, our amaro is also quite delicious on its own. It recently became available for purchase online, so even if you can’t get to one of our restaurants, you can enjoy its award-winning “never bitter” taste in the comfort of your own home.

Founded in 1981 with the goal of producing fair, impartial wine reviews for consumers, Tastings has since expanded their scope to include beer and spirits. Over the years, their reviews have appeared in publications and online industry sites such as, Wine Enthusiast, Restaurant Hospitality, The New Yorker, Wine & Spirits Magazine, Epicurious.comand many others. As an independent product rating and review company, Tastings provides beverage buying guides and education for consumers and the trade. Their mission is to help people discover and understand drinks they will love.

Founding Spirits Delights RAMMY Guests

Last night, Founding Spirits was mixing it up and toasting to another great DC restaurant year with the DMVs best and most festive foodies at the annual RAMMY Awards Gala.

Our team was on site serving our Cucumber Delight, a light and refreshing mix of our award winning Founding Spirits Vodka and Domaine de Canton, cucumber, cantaloupe, and lemon. As one of our most famous Founding Farmers cocktails, also available at Farmers & Distillers, Cucumber Delight has quite a fan club, and last night was no different.

What was different about last night, however, was the interest and excitement around an effort our parent company, Farmers Restaurant Group, is leading: Our Last Straw.

A coalition of restaurants, bars, cafes, and hotels, Our Last Straw is working to eliminate plastic straws in the DMV and reduce our reliance on all single-use plastics. As leaders in this effort, we brought our team, including our mascot – Eddy, the Turtle – to the RAMMYS to bring awareness to this issue and encourage other partnerships across DC’s hospitality industry.

President & CEO of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, Kathy Hollinger, welcomed the efforts of Farmers Restaurant Group and Our Last Straw announcing that everyone in the industry needs to work together to 86 plastic straws, starting at last night’s gala – where no plastic straws were served – to which the crowd, in excess of 2,400 people, applauded.

Negroni Week Just Got Better with Our Amaro

June 4th marks the start of a very special season: Negroni Week. Thanks to our award-winning Founding Spirits American Amaro, it just got even more amazing.

We are pretty psyched to wow Negroni lovers, as well as newbies to the Negroni scene, with a few of our spins on this classic cocktail. While a traditional Negroni is made with gin, a bitter aperitif (such as Campari), sweet vermouth, and finished with an orange twist, our Distillery Director, Jon Arroyo, has come up with some very special handcrafted alternatives.

Our Negroni cocktails use our very own Founding Spirits, including our award-winning Founding Spirits American Amaro. We will be serving three Negroni-inspired craft cocktails from June 4-10 at Founding Farmers, Farmers & Distillers, and Farmers Fishers Bakers:

Negroni Sour is a smooth and creamy mix of our Gold Medal Winner, Founding Spirits American Amaro with Campari, lemon, orange, and egg white.

Negroni Swizzle is a delightful mix of Founding Spirits American Amaro with Campari, cinnamon, and lemon.

The Silent Negroni includes Founding Spirits American Amaro, Mezcal El Silencio Espadin, Campari, and Pamplemousse Rose.

If this trio of taste isn’t enough to get you out and about, perhaps and you can have a Negroni Week party of your own and order some of our award-winning Founding Spirits online. Sponsor Imbibe Magazine has lots of recipes online and even Negroni week t-shirts to order.

At Farmers Restaurant Group, we love this annual opportunity to serve delicious cocktails for a cause. This year’s benefit is No Kid Hungry, which is a movement of teachers, chefs, community leaders, parents, lawmakers, and CEOs with one shared belief: No kid in America should go hungry.

Negroni Week is an annual international fundraiser put on by Imbibe magazine and Campari. To date, they have collectively raised nearly $1.5 million for charitable causes. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger through effective programs that provide kids with the food they need.