A. Smith Bowman Distillery | History


In 1927, before establishing Virginia’s oldest distillery, A. Smith Bowman purchased the 7,200-acre Sunset Hills farm in Fairfax County with one objective—to open up a dairy and granary. Shortly after bringing the idea to life, his fields became so abundant that he needed a use for the excess grain. This one defining moment changed the entire course of the Bowman legacy and ultimately lead to the best whiskey in the world.

In 1934, A. Smith Bowman built a groundbreaking distillery on the farm land and turned it into a family-owned business. With the help of his two sons, he produced the first ever batch of Virginia Gentleman. Up until the 1950s, A. Smith Bowman Distillery was the sole producer of legal whiskey in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Since then, the focus has shifted from our classic spirit to producing premium handcrafted small batches and experimental editions that embody innovation at its core.

Today, our historic family-owned distillery has relocated to Fredericksburg, yet still continues to balance our long-lived traditions, honoring one of Virginia’s great pioneers. Most recently in 2016 and 2017, A. Smith Bowman Distillery won the “World’s Best Bourbon” at the World Whiskies Awards — solidifying us as Virginia’s Most Award-Winning Distillery.



A. Smith Bowman Distillery | Fermentation

The first step in the distilling process is fermentation. For this process, we grind NON-GMO corn and cook it to draw out the natural sugar. Then we add our proprietary yeast strains, which convert the sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide within a few days time. At this stage, the liquid is called “wash.”

A. Smith Bowman Distillery | Distilling

Next, the wash is distilled. We’ve named our two stills George and Mary, paying homage to the mother and father of the Bowman brothers. Mary is our oldest still, while George is our newest 500-gallon hybrid pot. Once in the stills, the wash is heated and the vapor is condensed and collected as a liquid. This is known as “white dog.” Fun fact: Our bourbons are typically triple distilled.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery | Maturing

The third step in our distilling process is maturation. Depending on the product, it can mature for many years. Lucky us, we get to take the first sips and decide when each barrel is ready to be bottled! From the very beginning days up until now, our attention to detail shows up in every tasty sip as we stay true to our traditional founding fathers and make our product the right way.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery | Bottling

Our spirits are proudly hand bottled by Virginians, all in-house. Our bottling line can comfortably accommodate six people, but we typically operate it with merely half of that. It’s crazy to imagine that a passionate distillery team of just six folks can successfully supply bourbon across the U.S., isn’t it?

Meet Master Distiller Brian Prewitt | A. Smith Bowman Distillery


His Innovative Spirit Lead to Ours

Brian Prewitt knows a thing or two about producing award-winning whiskey. Since 2013, the Colorado-raised master distiller has carried on A. Smith Bowman’s family traditions and earned a plethora of prestigious accolades, most notably the “World’s Best Bourbon” two years in a row.

With more than 20 years of experience in the brewing and distilling industry, we can assure you that Brian has never had a dull moment. His career has been centered around innovativeness for many years, which is just one of many reasons why he’s an integral part of the success of our distillery. Brian loves pushing the limits and experimenting with new ingredients, in addition to introducing new cutting-edge technology to the team.

When asked about his role as Master Distiller at A. Smith Bowman Distillery, Prewitt stated, “This is my dream job. To be able to work with the high quality spirits that are in the Bowman line already, plus have the freedom to try my hand at some experiments, well, I’m just ecstatic.”




At A. Smith Bowman Distillery, we’re one big family. As you can see, there’s a plethora of folks who keep our process flowing as smooth as our spirits. We all come from different walks of life, but share a passion for excellence — both in and out of our facility. Meet our amazing team below and click the pictures to learn more about the folks helping to make us Virginia’s most award-winning distillery.

Debbie Stevens | A. Smith Bowman Distillery


Gift Shop & Operations Admin

Michelle Begin | A. Smith Bowman Distillery


Distillery Events Associate

Bill Jones | A. Smith Bowman Distillery


Operations Supervisor

Jimmy Booker | A. Smith Bowman Distillery


Machine Operator

Neil Clark | A. Smith Bowman Distillery



Justin Davidson | A. Smith Bowman Distillery


Machine Operator

Ken Eyer | A. Smith Bowman Distillery


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Art Franzen | A. Smith Bowman Distillery


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Mira Golmant | A. Smith Bowman Distillery


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Erin LaFalce | A. Smith Bowman Distillery


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Linda Komp | A. Smith Bowman Distillery


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A. Smith Bowman Distillery | Mary Ogle


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David Sweet | A. Smith Bowman Distillery


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