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Black-owned Uncle Nearest Premium Whisky surpasses $100M sales mark in just five years

The company says it's on track to double its total sales by the end of 2023.

Black-owned Uncle Nearest Premium Whisky surpasses $100M sales mark in just five years
Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey bottles pictured here. The company crossed the $100-million mark in sales, according to a Dec. 5 release. PHOTO BY UNCLE NEAREST. 

Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey has announced it has surpassed the $100-million sales mark through October 2022. The company also said it’s on track to double its total sales by the end of 2023.

Uncle Nearest founder and CEO Fawn Weaver discussed the meaning behind the milestone.

“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,” Weaver said in a statement.

“Every cent we make in the future will continue to do the same. We have an entire generation of women and people of colour who represent 70 per cent 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 announcement follows news of its recently expanded 323-acre distillery in Shelbyville, Tennessee. The Nearest Green distillery is undergoing a $50 million, four-phase buildout which started on Juneteenth 2021.

Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey honours the legacy of Nathan “Nearest” Green, the first-known Black master distiller and namesake of the company.

Green, a formerly enslaved person, established himself as a distiller in Lynchburg, Tennessee, in the 1800s. He served as the master distiller for the Jack Daniel Distillery and mentored Jack Daniel in distillation, according to the company's website.

Nine-figure goal reached in just five years

Founded in 2017, Uncle Nearest has been making waves in U.S. markets since its inception.

Katharine Jerkens, the company’s chief operating officer, and Victoria Eady Butler, a four-time Master Blender of the Year winner and great-great-granddaughter of Nearest Green, joined her shortly after.

Last year, Uncle Nearest announced it had become the best-selling Black American-founded, owned and led spirit brand in U.S. history. In addition, it was the most-awarded bourbon and American whisky of 2019, 2020, and 2021.

The whiskey portfolio of seven products from the company ranges in suggested retail price from $49.99 to $149. It is offered at its distillery in Shelbyville, as well as in all 50 states, territories and federal districts nationwide.

The company’s much-awaited Single Barrel Black Label was made available on Black Friday 2022 at the distillery for $79 and sold out of the initial batch of barrels right away, necessitating an additional bottling before the doors opened the next morning.

“For the longest time, folks were sitting around waiting for us to fail. First, they underestimated us, then expected us to fail,” Eady Butler said. They do that with independent companies owned by women or people of colour. Well, more than five years into this level of growth, y’all can stop waiting. We are not a fad or some trendy brand – we are a purpose-driven, mission-oriented company. Uncle Nearest and Nearest Green Distillery aren’t just here to stay, but to grow and sustain at a pace never seen before in our industry.”

Uncle Nearest is also giving back to the next generation, recently investing $5 million into Hella Cocktail Co., a BIPOC-owned brand of botanically inspired mixers and beverages.