Home National news Tennessee whiskey promoted by ‘Spirits on the Rise’ event in Lynchburg and Shelbyville

Tennessee whiskey promoted by ‘Spirits on the Rise’ event in Lynchburg and Shelbyville

Applications now open for April 15-16 event

by PRIDE Newsdesk
Kevin Larkai and Monté Burrow are the co-founders of Blackleaf Organic Vodka, a company selected in 2023 for the NJAI incubator.

The ‘Spirits on the Rise Summit’ returns April 15 and 16 thanks to the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative (NJAI), the first-of-its-kind incubator created by Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. It’s an attempt to diversify the current and future leaders in the spirits industry, with a two-day event, taking place in Lynchburg and Shelbyville, Tennessee. Organizers hope to build upon the success of last year’s summit with more speakers, more networking, and more opportunities for BIPOC businessmen and businesswomen in spirits to learn from panelists and keynote speakers who are experts in their fields.

The ‘Spirits on the Rise Summit’ began in 2023 to bring together experienced spirits and hospitality industry professionals with entrepreneurs from historically underrepresented communities as they work to advance their spirits businesses. Last year, attendees representing more than 50 up-and-coming brands heard from and made connections with executives from some of the nation’s top beverage and hospitality companies such as Brown-Forman, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, Hyatt Hotels, ReserveBar, and Breakthru Beverage Group, as well as key personnel from leading financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Collective Equity Partners, LLC and more.

“Our inaugural event in 2023 was the first-of-its-kind, and everyone who attended came to Tennessee with so much positive energy and an openness to learn,” said Katharine Jerkens, chief business officer of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey. “The number of connections made between entrepreneurs, given the platform to share their stories, was a true highlight—not to mention the connections with investors and industry veterans. Every single person walked away with a toolkit for building their brand, and this year will be even more dynamic than last.”

Programming for the 2024 Spirits on the Rise Summit will take place at the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg on April 15, and at the Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville on April 16. Highlights will include engaging workshops and panels on topics like revenue growth management, distributor management, public relations, funding, route to market and shopper marketing. The summit will once again conclude with the emerging brands fair where founders will have an opportunity to showcase their product offerings to their peers, industry leaders and investors. Two presenting brands last year, Mission Craft Cocktails and Blackleaf Organic Vodka, were discovered and selected as the newest participants in the NJAI Business Incubation Program.

“After a successful debut in 2023, we are thrilled to announce the return of the Spirits on the Rise Summit for 2024,” said Jamie Butler, Jack Daniel’s ‘global brand director.’ “This event will continue to advance the goal of the Nearest and Jack Advancement Initiative to foster a more diverse spirits industry while also supporting BIPOC entrepreneurs who are looking for guidance and mentorship as they build their respective businesses.”

Spirits brands that are majority BIPOC-owned or operated are invited to submit their interest to attend this year’s summit through March 1, or until the event is at capacity. Due to the limited number of available spots, each brand’s submission will be thoroughly reviewed before confirming attendance. Selected brands will receive an email with an official invitation to complete their registration for up to two business representatives.

To submit your company’s interest in the 2024 Spirits on the Rise Summit, or for more information on the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative, visit <www.nearestandjack.org>.

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