Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey

Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is a brand of Tennessee whiskey produced by Uncle Nearest, Inc., headquartered in Shelbyville, Tennessee. The whiskey is named after the formerly enslaved man, Nathan "Nearest" Green, who taught a young Jack Daniel the craft of distilling.[1] The brand's producer is Uncle Nearest, Inc., also located in Shelbyville.

Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey
FoundedJuly 2017 (Lynchburg, Tennessee)
FounderFawn Weaver
Shelbyville, Tennessee
Area served
Key people

As of 2020, five brand variants have been produced: Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey, Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Silver Whiskey, Uncle Nearest 1820 Premium Aged Whiskey (Nearest Green Single Barrel Edition), Nathan Green 1870 Single Barrel (UK), Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Tennessee Whiskey, and Master Blend.[2][3][4]According to the IWSR, Uncle Nearest is the fastest-growing whiskey brand in the United States.[5] In June 2021, Uncle Nearest was named one of the 100 Reasons to Love America by People magazine.[6]


Uncle Nearest, Inc., launched the Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey brand in July 2017 and subsequently announced plans to expand into domestic and international markets.[7][8] It is the first spirit named after an African-American.[9]As of September 2019, it is sold in all 50 states and twelve countries.[10][11]

The company's first 11-year-old, single-barrel whiskey premiered in October 2018 via the British Bourbon Society under the name Nathan Green 1870 Single Barrel.[2][3][12]

In 2019,[13] Uncle Nearest announced that Victoria Eady Butler would become the first African-American female whiskey master blender and lead distilling operations. Butler is a descendent of Nathan Green.[14][15][16] She was named Master Blender of the Year by Whisky Magazine, VinePair, and The Spirits Business in 2021.[17]

In June 2020, the Nearest Green Distillery and the Jack Daniel Distillery announced the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative.[18] Each company contributed $2.5 million to create the Nearest Green School of Distilling at Motlow State Community College, which includes the Leadership Acceleration Program for apprenticeships, and the Business Incubation Program, which provides expertise and resources to African-Americans entering the spirits industry.[19]

On June 1, 2021, Uncle Nearest formed the Uncle Nearest Venture Fund, a $50 million initiative to invest in minority-founded and owned spirits brands.[5]

Nathan "Nearest" GreenEdit

Known as Uncle Nearest, Nathan "Nearest" Green has been acknowledged since 2016 as the first African-American master distiller on record in the United States.[1][20] He taught Jack Daniel to make Tennessee whiskey and served as the first master distiller – formerly called "head stiller" – for the Jack Daniel Distillery as a free man after the Civil War.[7][21][22] He was instrumental in developing the Lincoln County Process, the sugar maple charcoal filtering method used to make most Tennessee Whiskey.[1][21]

Nearest Green DistilleryEdit

In 2017, a rezoning proposal was approved by the Bedford County board to accommodate a whiskey-themed business at the former Sand Creek Farms in Shelbyville, Tennessee.[23] On September 14, 2019,[24] the first phase of the Nearest Green Distillery opened, which included the Welcome House, a bottling house, a working horse and cattle farm, and the Toppy's Copper Skies Bar.[25] It was the first distillery in the United States named after a Black person.[26]

After a year-long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the distillery re-opened its doors on Juneteenth 2021, debuting its second phase, which added a single-barrel rickhouse, an improved Welcome House and Family Testing Room, a restaurant, a non-alcoholic speakeasy,[27] and the Master Blender House.[28][29] That month, the distillery purchased an additional 53 acres for further expansion, and announced plans to dedicate 100 acres to grow organic corn for its blends.[30] The distillery's second phase will complete with the future opening of the Still House and Humble Baron, an entertainment venue featuring the world's longest bar (designed by Death & Co.).[31]


1856 Batch

The Uncle Nearest brand originally included a silver and an aged whiskey, both distilled from locally sourced grains and bottled in Tennessee.[7] The silver whiskey takes 25 days to make, using an 11-step process that includes a triple charcoal mellowing system designed for the brand.[32] The company added a single-barrel whiskey in July 2018.[9] Whiskey makers in Columbia are producing the Uncle Nearest whiskeys until renovations at the Nearest Green Distillery are complete.[33]

The recipe behind the Uncle Nearest Tennessee whiskeys dates back to the whiskeys made in the late 1800s in Lincoln County. According to Nearest Green Foundation co-founder Fawn Weaver, "[the recipe] was saved from a fire just behind the square in Lynchburg, and is now under lock and key at the Farmers Bank in Lynchburg, the bank Jack Daniel founded in 1888."[20] The recipe includes corn malt, a former whiskey ingredient long missing from Tennessee whiskeys.[20]

The brand's first three releases are named after the year Nearest was born (1820), the year he was credited with perfecting the Lincoln County Process (1856), and the year he retired (1884).[10]

Awards and ratingsEdit

Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey 2019 World Whiskies Awards (Whisky Magazine)[34] World's Best Tennessee Whiskey
2019 Ultimate Spirits Challenge[35] 92 Points, Finalist
2020 American Whiskey Masters[36] Master Medal
2021 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition[37] Best in Class - Best Tennessee Whiskey
2021 Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition[38] Best Bourbon
Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Silver Whiskey 2018 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition[39] Gold Medal
2018 World Spirits Competition (Cigar & Spirits Magazine)[40] Silver Medal
Uncle Nearest 1820 Nearest Green Single Barrel Edition 2019 Ultimate Spirits Challenge[35] Chairman's Trophy
2020 International Wine & Spirits Competition[41] Bourbon Tropy
2020 World Whiskies Awards[42] World's Best
2021 International Whisky Competition[43] First Place
2021 Ultimate Spirits Challenge[44] Chairman's Trophy
San Francisco World Spirits Competition Gold Medal - 2019[45]

Double Gold - 2020,[46] 2021,[47] 2022[48]

Uncle Nearest 1884 Premium Small Batch Whiskey 2020 American Whisky Masters[36] Master Medal
2021 Ascot Awards[49] Best American Whiskey
2021 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition[50] Gold Medal
Uncle Nearest Master Blend Edition Wine Enthusiast 2021 Spirit Brand of the Year[51]
2021 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition[50] Best Tennessee Whiskey
2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition[48] Double Gold


  1. ^ a b c Risen, Clay (2017-08-15). "When Jack Daniel's Failed to Honor a Slave, an Author Rewrote History". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-19.
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  5. ^ a b Dunn, Elizabeth G. (2021-06-01). "A Black Whiskey Entrepreneur Will Help Bankroll Others Like Her". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  6. ^ "PEOPLE's List of 100 Reasons to Love America in 2021". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
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  8. ^ "Uncle Nearest 1856 Whiskey Expands Team with Spirits Industry Exec And Lifestyle Specialist Kenny Burns". Distillery Trail. 2018-03-17. Retrieved 2019-05-19.
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  10. ^ a b "Uncle Nearest Is the Most Important Story in American Whiskey History". InsideHook. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
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  12. ^ Malt, Master of (2018-10-05). "The Nightcap: 5 October". Master of Malt Blog. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
  13. ^ AmericanWhiskeyMag (2019-11-12). "Uncle Nearest announces new master blender, Victoria Eady-Butler". American Whiskey Magazine. Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  14. ^ The First African American Woman Master Blender Is Here to End the White-Washing of American Whiskey; Food & Wine Magazine; [1]
  15. ^ Victoria Eady Butler Continues a Forgotten Whiskey Legacy, 160 Years On; Vinepair; [2]
  16. ^ Holiday Gift Guide 2021: Best Whiskeys And Whiskies Made By Women; Forbes; [3]
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  23. ^ "Plans unveiled for Sand Creek whiskey facility | The Walking Horse Report". The Walking Horse Report Online. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
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  27. ^ "'Field of Dreams': Black-Owned Distillery Named After Former Enslaved Man Who Taught Jack Daniels to Make Whiskey Expands to More Than 320 Acres". Atlanta Black Star. 2021-08-09. Retrieved 2021-11-09.
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  30. ^ Dingwall, Kate. "Nearest Green Distillery Expands With Major Land Purchase". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-11-12.
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  49. ^ "2021 ASCOT Awards Category Winners & Championship Round Competitors – ASCOT | Awards". Retrieved 2022-03-31.
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External linksEdit