New Columbia Distillers may only be six years old, but that actually makes it Washington, D.C.'s oldest distillery.
The company may be young, but it borrows from a very old and fascinating history. New Columbia's flagship product is Green Hat gin, named for George Cassiday, Capitol Hill's favorite bootlegger. Cassiday came home from World War I without a job and quickly found bootlegging for Congress to be pretty lucrative. Unfortunately, the good times did not last long for Cassiday, as he was caught by Capitol Police in 1925 wearing his favorite green hat... hence the name. He continued his operation in the Senate, but was again shut down in 1930. Fortunately, he was able to call in a few favors to avoid jail. He turned his talents towards writing, and exposed the hypocrisy of Congress during prohibition in a series of articles.
Today, the "man in the green hat" lives on at New Columbia ... albeit in a more legal fashion this time.