Uncle Nearest founder and CEO Fawn Weaver discussed the beverage business, entrepreneurship, investment and shared her personal story as the founder of Uncle Nearest, Inc., the largest Black-owned distillery in the U.S. at NMAAM last Friday. Membership has its privileges, and one of the privileges of NMAAM membership was access to that very special event, which featured a fireside chat and cocktail reception with H. Beecher Hicks III (NMAAM President and CEO) and special guests Fawn Weaver (Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey) and her husband Keith Weaver (Sony Pictures Entertainment).
As an author, columnist, restaurateur, and speaker, she has stressed the balance between work and family and building a strong marriage while growing companies. The Uncle Nearest brand is not only the fastest-growing American whiskey brand in U.S. history and the best-selling African American-founded spirit brand of all time, but the most award-winning American whiskey (including bourbon) of 2019, 2020, and 2021. At the core of the brand are the Weavers, a pair whose influence is impacting their community and beyond.
Since starting Uncle Nearest, in 2016, Weaver has become a power player both in the beverage business and the broader business world overall. As an investor, she runs the privately held investment company Grant Sidney, Inc. In beverage, her $50 million Uncle Nearest Venture Fund has invested in minority-owned brands like Hella Cocktails and Sorel. She is also a board member of Endeavor Group Holdings.
The story of Uncle Nearest has become one of the most inspiring success stories in both spirits and beverage overall and Weaver’s incredible energy and leadership style have continued to make the brand a forceful change agent in the industry. In 2020, Jack Daniel’s and the nonprofit Nearest Green Foundation formed the Nearest and Jack Advancement Initiative, to elevate people of color within the American whiskey industry and to greatly increase diversity in the spirits industry overall.
Weaver, a serial entrepreneur for more than 25 years, shared personal insights on the ways that brands can achieve rapid growth while fulfilling a social vision and also discussed ways that entrepreneurs can live balanced lives while building dynamic brands. She offered thoughts on investment across both spirits and non-alcoholic beverage brands, discussed opportunities and challenges for minority-owned companies, and shared a lifetime of lessons for the founders and brands with the NMAAM audience.
Weaver is also the founder of the Nearest Green Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization offering full scholarships to every descendant of Nearest Green, the world’s first known African-American master distiller. In 2021, Weaver created the Uncle Nearest Venture Fund, to invest in minority founded, owned and led brands with the greatest potential to grow into legacy brands.
OTHER NMAAM NEWS
Soul of Music City — through the inaugural Titans x NMAAM ticket offer; each package includes one ticket for the Sunday, December 11 Titans game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and a 1-day pass for NMAAM.
Nissan Free Wednesdays — (on the first Wednesday of every month) continue for the rest of the sponsored period including December 7, 2022; January 4, 2023; February 1, 2023; March 1, 2023; April 5, 2023; May 3, 2023; and June 7, 2023, courtesy of Nissan.