Black woman whose whiskey brand made history crossing $100M in sales now owns a bank

Abu Mubarik January 03, 2023
Fawn Weaver. Photo courtesy of Uncle Nearest

Before turning 19, Fawn Weaver lived in three homeless shelters. In between living in shelters and coming to own her own house, she spent time reading the biographies of successful entrepreneurs like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Charles Schwab, Andrew Mellon, J.D. Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan.

Starting with a condo in 1991 when she was only 18, Weaver created a path that would lead her to become a serial entrepreneur. She worked three jobs while in school to be able to pay for her first real estate. By 2000, she had saved enough to buy two duplexes.

Since then, she and her husband, Keith Weaver, have been flipping multiple properties which have become their main source of wealth in the last twenty years. She also created the whiskey brand Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, which recently 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.

Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey was founded by 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.

The serial entrepreneur is now a co-owner of a bank. In a recent post on Instagram, Weaver announced that she has bought a bank located in Tennessee.  

“So…we bought a bank,” Weaver said in her caption. “Actually, even better, we bought the building and became the landlord of Keith’s parent’s bank.”

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