They never gave up or gave in!
In 2018, Fawn Weaver made a big change; after reading an article about the nation’s first African-American master distiller, Nathan “Nearest” Green, she became curious about the history of whiskey production in Lynchburg, Tennessee. She learned Jack Daniel of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey learned how to distill whiskey from an enslaved man whose name was rarely mentioned. Weaver purchased the farm where the two began distilling and purchased a four-acre plot to turn into a memorial park honoring Green and his legacy. Weaver started the Nearest Green Foundation then introduced her first bottle of aged whiskey, Uncle Nearest 1856, made the same way Green taught Daniel.
Since then, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey has expanded to a 323-acre distillery in Shelbyville, Tennessee where they’ve welcomed over 100,000 guests. The brand has become the most awarded American whiskey or bourbon of 2019, 2020 and 2021, with 450 awards and accolades. You can find Uncle Nearest in every state throughout the nation and in 12 countries.
Selling over 5 million bottles of the premium whiskey thus far, the company recently announced that sales exceeded $100 million through October 2022 and are projected to double that total by the end of 2023.
Fawn Weaver stated, “When we entered the bourbon market, we had no idea we were making history as the first and only brand to commemorate an African-American, and the first major spirit company to be founded and led by a leadership team of all women. The question on the mind of so many in the CPG and spirits industry was, ‘Could a brand with a story broaching American topics no one had ever attempted be embraced by consumers of every background, gender and race?’ That answer has become abundantly clear. The world had been waiting for Uncle Nearest for more than 160 years, they just didn’t realize it until our bottles hit shelves.”
Victoria Eady Butler, fifth-generation Nearest Green descendant and Uncle Nearest Master Blender, stated, “Our goal is to cement the legacy of Nearest Green in the history books and in the hearts and minds of people all over.”
Keep going ladies, you’re doing just fine!
Photo: Shoppe Black/ Uncle Nearest Whiskey