SHELBYVILLE, Tennessee— Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, the most awarded American Whiskey or Bourbon of 2019 and 2020, confirmed today it has solidified this honor for the third year in a row, raking in a record 198 awards in 2021. Since its debut in 2017, the super-premium whiskey from Tennessee has topped every major spirit competition, garnering 380 total awards, including 46 Best in Class, and 213 Gold, Double Gold and Platinum medals. Last year alone, the brand won 21 Best in Class awards from the industry’s most respected judges, including at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, John Barleycorn Awards, Ascot Awards, Bartender Spirits Awards, and The Spirits Business Luxury Masters.
The distillery is continuing this momentum as it also announces today the release of its long-awaited new packaging containing whiskey 100-percent distilled, aged and bottled by Uncle Nearest, as well as unveils its 2022 slate of whiskeys which uses four different recipes. In addition to its current portfolio of core and distillery exclusive whiskeys, this year Nearest Green Distillery will release Uncle Nearest Rye, Uncle Nearest Single Barrel Rye, and a new more widely available Uncle Nearest Single Barrel Whiskey.
“Since the inception of our brand, everything in our bottles was blended to perfection by our master blender, Victoria Eady Butler, but the whiskey was sourced. Our own whiskey began fully maturing last year, and what we have in our bottles now is what we believe is the best whiskey we’ve ever released,” said Fawn Weaver, founder and CEO. “Some call Uncle Nearest a straight bourbon whiskey, some call us straight Tennessee Whiskey. We don’t care, as our whiskey meets the legal requirement of both distinctions. What we do care is that you call us super-premium whiskey as that is what our namesake made, and it is what our team and partners have been working nonstop to make each and every day.”
Among the greatest change to the new packaging is the replacement of the sketch of the property where Nearest originally distilled by the insignia of Nearest Green Distillery, which boasts a dram of whiskey encased by a horseshoe, signifying its iron Tennessee roots. Victoria Eady Butler, fifth-generation Nearest Green descendant, who has been named Master Blender of the Year by Whisky Magazine, VinePair, and The Spirits Business, has also added a note and her signature to the front of every newly released bottle.
“Our first-generation Uncle Nearest bottles shared the history of my great-great-grandfather and his significance to the Tennessee Whiskey coming out of the hills and hollows around Lynchburg,” said Eady Butler. “Our new generation of bottles reflect the future of our brand and our Shelbyville distillery being what cements his legacy for my family and every future generation of whiskey lovers. This is 160 years in the making and damn it if we didn’t figure out how to perfect it! Nearest has always deserved this.”
Last week, the company revealed via social media their plans to turn all their original bottles into collector’s items, encouraging buyers to “clear the shelves” of the “prelude” Uncle Nearest bottles and make way for the new editions.
“The packaging we used since our inception is no more as of 2022,” said Katharine Jerkens, Chief Business Officer. “If you walk into any retail store from coast to coast, you will notice something familiar – empty Uncle Nearest shelves. We waited for our Whiskey Family to completely sell us out, and now we are restocking with the bottles that will permanently cement the legacy of Nearest Green, the world’s first known African American master distiller.”
The seven bottles in their 2022 whiskey slate will first be released at the 323-acre Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville, Tennessee, with 1884 Small Batch Whiskey debuting last weekend and cases beginning to ship into markets across the country today. In December 2021, the company released the first new bottles of its Master Blend Edition whiskey exclusively at the distillery, which has already been met with rave reviews from both critics and consumers.
About Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey
Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey honors the world’s first-known African American master distiller, Nearest Green. The portfolio is the Most Awarded American Whiskey or Bourbon of 2019, 2020 and 2021, with over 380 awards and accolades since the brands 2017 launch, including 46 Best in Class honors. Uncle Nearest is currently available in all 50 states and 12 countries, and is sold in more than 25,000 stores, bars, hotels, restaurants, as well as at its 323-acre distillery in Shelbyville, Tenn. For more information, please visit the Uncle Nearest website, and follow on Instagram and Facebook @unclenearest.
About Nearest Green Distillery
Nearest Green Distillery is the world’s first distillery to commemorate an African American. Dubbed as “Malt Disney World,” and recognized by Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, ESSENCE, Lonely Planet, and more as a must-visit distillery, the 323-acre property has become known as a full-blown destination for whiskey lovers, history enthusiasts, and families. Every bit of the $50 million build-out is a master class in storytelling and history-making, paying tribute to the three things Tennessee is most known for: Tennessee Whiskey, Tennessee walking horses and Tennessee music. For more information or to book a tour, please visit unclenearest.com/distillery, and follow on Instagram @unclenearest.