Black-owned whiskey brand created to honor former slave crosses $100 million sales mark

Abu Mubarik December 08, 2022
Uncle Nearest recently became the Best-Selling Black-Owned and Founded Spirit Brand. Photo Credit: Instagram / @unclenearest

Black-owned whiskey brand Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey has announced that its sales exceeded $100 million through October 2022, making it one of the most successful Black-owned distilleries in the world. The whiskey brand said it is expected to more than double that total by the end of 2023.

In 2021, the brand became the best-selling African-American-owned and founded spirit brand in the U.S. after selling nearly 1.5 million bottles of its sought-after super-premium whiskey. The company’s whiskey portfolio of seven offerings is available at its distillery in Shelbyville, Tennessee and in all 50 states, territories, and districts nationwide, it said in a statement released on Monday.

Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey was founded by Fawn Weaver to honor the memory of Nearest Green, an enslaved African American who helped Jack Daniel to start his distillery.

“To reach this and every other milestone on our horizon, we continue to push nonstop. Every penny this company has earned has gone back into the business, as well as to put Nearest Green’s college-age descendants through college and to invest in minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs through our Black Business Booster program (BBB), the Nearest and Jack Advancement Initiative (NJAI) and Uncle Nearest Ventures,” said Weaver in Monday’s statement. 

“Every cent we make in the future will continue to do the same. We have an entire generation of women and people of color, who represent 70 percent of our country but still feel marginalized and underrepresented, counting on us. This group continues to look to Uncle Nearest as proof that anything is possible. We will not let them down. With the support of one of the most loyal consumer bases in spirits, we will continue to do the ‘impossible’ so they know, as long as they operate in excellence and refuse to give up, they can achieve whatever their heart believes.”

The 323-acre distillery became the first in U.S. history to honor an African-American whiskey maker, and one of the few distilleries in the country owned and operated by a Black, female lead. The whisky brand debuted in 2017. “Built on its knack for sourcing the best of Tennessee Whiskeys and Bourbons, the whiskey is made using a non- temperature-controlled aging process and a unique post-aging double filtration method, which is then blended to perfection by fifth-generation Nearest Green descendant and Uncle Nearest’s master blender, Victoria Eady Butle,” PRNewswire said.

Despite the effect of COVID-19 on many businesses, particularly Black businesses, Weaver weathered the storm to top the chart of bestselling African-American-owned whiskey brands. “Our bottling and distilling partner did an incredible job of ensuring every area of the distillery was socially distanced and followed the strictest COVID-19 guidelines, which meant we could only move so quickly and had to cap our third full year at 120,000 cases sold,” said Weaver.

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