Home » Black businesswoman Fawn Weaver’s whiskey empire nears $1-billion valuation

Black businesswoman Fawn Weaver’s whiskey empire nears $1-billion valuation

Uncle Nearest's phenomenal growth: From local distillery to global force in four years

by Omokolade Ajayi
Fawn Weaver

Fawn Weaver, a trailblazing Black businesswoman and serial entrepreneur, is steering her whiskey brand, Uncle Nearest, toward a historic $1 billion valuation. The brand, recognized as the fastest-growing American whiskey in U.S. history, is on the verge of unicorn status following a groundbreaking capital raise, solidifying its place as a beacon among Black and women-owned businesses.

Uncle Nearest, a brand built on a narrative of love, honor, respect, and heritage, recently announced an oversubscribed capital raise for its French subsidiary. This development brings the total capital raised since the brand’s inception to $220 million, propelling its valuation to $900 million.

The funding round signifies a crucial step in scaling the spirits conglomerate created by Weaver. Following the successful raise, Uncle Nearest acquired Domaine Saint Martin, an esteemed estate in Cognac, France, with a lineage tracing back over 350 years.

The estate includes more than 100 acres of prime land, a significant cooperage, expansive cellars, and a distillery. This strategic move positions Uncle Nearest in the heart of Cognac City, with 50 acres dedicated to Grande Champagne vineyards, the most sought-after in the region.

Inspiration and innovation: Fawn Weaver’s unveiling of a Whiskey legacy

Weaver’s journey into the spirits’ industry began with a chance encounter with a New York Times International Edition cover featuring Jack Daniels and a Black man, George Green, son of Nathan “Nearest” Green, the first African-American master distiller.

Intrigued by the off-center 19th-century photo, Weaver delved into the story, uncovering Jack Daniel’s acknowledgment of Nearest Green’s pivotal role in whiskey creation. Despite personal challenges, Weaver transformed this historical revelation into the foundation of Uncle Nearest in 2016.

Under Weaver’s leadership, Uncle Nearest has emerged as the most-awarded Bourbon and American Whiskey company for five consecutive years (2019-2023), establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with in the industry.

Uncle Nearest’s phenomenal growth: From local distillery to global force in four years

Under Weaver’s guidance, Uncle Nearest has revolutionized the spirits industry with innovative approaches. The brand’s presence extends to over 30,000 stores, bars, hotels, and restaurants across 50 U.S. states and 12 countries. In just four years, Weaver propelled Uncle Nearest to the seventh most visited distillery globally.

The brand’s aggressive route-to-market strategies expanded its distribution from one U.S. state to all 50 in less than two years, securing a spot among the top 10 ultra-premium American whiskey companies, a remarkable feat for an independent company.

In addition to her role at the helm of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, Weaver is the founder of the Nearest Green Foundation. This non-profit organization stands as a testament to her commitment to preserving the legacy of Nearest Green, offering full scholarships to every descendant of the world’s first known African-American master distiller.

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