From this Distillery
Uncle Nearest Distillery was is inspired by the best whiskey-maker the world never knew, the first known African-American master distiller, Nathan “Nearest” Green.
Distillery Founder Fawn Weaver
Fawn Weaver is known today as the woman who turned Nearest Green’s legacy into a dedicated whiskey brand, but before that she was a best-selling author and tech entrepreneur living in California with no ties to the spirits industry. Green, a.k.a. “Uncle Nearest”, was the former slave who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey.
The story about Nearest’s ties to the Jack Daniel’s distillery has been known to locals in Lynchburg, the Tennessee town where it is located, and was written about decades ago in a book about Jack Daniel. When the story and its book were uncovered once again recently by Clay Risen in The New York Times in an effort to highlight Green’s legacy, Weaver read the story and decided she had to know more about this mysterious African-American man who made such a huge impact on the spirits industry in America. She planned her 40th birthday trip to Lynchburg, Tennessee, so she could interview anyone she could find with memories or stories of Uncle Nearest. Her plan was to write a book and movie about Nathan ‘Nearest’ Green, followed by producing a commemorative bottle of whiskey.
What she learned on that first fateful trip not only cemented her resolve to honor this great man’s legacy, but it also sparked a cross-country move, and the building of a new distillery to honor his legacy to produce a whiskey that right out of the gate, won a silver medal in the 2019 NY International Spirits Competition.
The distillery is wholly owned by Uncle Nearest, Inc., an all minority-led business, and encompasses a portfolio of premium aged whiskey, including a blend of 8- to 14- year old, an 11-year-old minimum age single barrel, and a 7-year-old small batch offering. The whiskey is mellowed using the Lincoln County Process, a unique filtering of bourbon through sugar maple charcoal, which has been confirmed to have been brought to Tennessee by enslaved people and taught by Nearest Green to the most famous Tennessee Whiskey maker of all time. Uncle Nearest is distilled, aged, bottled and hand-labeled in Tennessee.
The company initially built its brand by sourcing the best of Tennessee whiskies and bourbons, and using its own non-temperature-controlled aging process and unique post-aging double filtration method that significantly changes the characteristics and profile of the original whiskies.
Uncle Nearest disitllery is the most awarded new American premium whiskey brand in United States history, garnering 75 awards since its July 2017 debut, including being one of two brands named “World’s Best” at Whisky Magazine’s 2019 World Whiskies Awards, and earning 15 Best in Class. Cigar & Spirits Magazine also named Uncle Nearest one of the “Top 5 Whiskies in the World." The 270-acre distillery in Shelbyville, Tenn. has been called “Malt Disney World.”