These patriarchs of American whiskey continue to make news while still hewing to tradition.

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3 Founding Fathers of U.S. Whiskey

Courtesy of Anchor Brewing Company

1. Fritz Maytag Anchor Distilling Co.

Maytag restarted the craft-whiskey movement in 1996 with his Old Potrero rye. Last year, his Anchor Steam Brewing Company in San Francisco released a beer aged in whiskey barrels.

George Washington Mount Vernon Estate

© Bob Creamer / Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

2. George Washington Mount Vernon Estate

In the last year of his life (1799), the nation's first president was likely its biggest whiskey-maker; his Virginia estate has revived his still, and will release his unaged rye next month.

Jim Beam (ri)1 Whiskey

Courtesy of Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.

3. Jim Beam (ri)1 Whiskey

Even the largest whiskey companies are trying small-batch. The Kentucky brand named for 19th-century whiskey pioneer James Beauregard "Jim" Beam recently launched this buttery rye. jimbeam.com.

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