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The Story of “Uncle Nearest” the World’s First Known African American Master Distiller


By Gary Johnson – Founder/Publisher (Black Men In

June 17, 2024

Everybody associates the name Jack Daniels with premium whiskey. Very few people know that Jack Daniels learned how to distill whiskey from a slave name Nathan Green, later known as “Uncle Nearest.”

I am not and have never been a consumer of alcohol.  However, love stories of success and first heard about Fawn Weaver and Uncle Nearest about 3 years ago.  I started promoting the Uncle Nearest Brand for the African American Cultural Society and Museum in Palm Coast, Florida.  I don’t promote products that I don’t try.  As a result, I had my first sip of Uncle Nearest 1856 whiskey last year. Uncle Nearest 1856 is a premium blend bottled at 100 proof.  It has won over 125 awards since its debut in 2017.

Before I took the sip, I thought that my chest would burn like a strong cough syrup.  I was told not to worry because Uncle Nearest was smooth and would not burn.  A distinguished gentlemen, Mr. Alton Dempsey, shared that if I consumed too much, I might R.W.L.  What does R.W.L. stand for you ask? Run, Walk or Lay Down.  I took my sip and it was smooth.  Having sampled the product, I felt comfortable promoting it by sharing links and information of Fawn telling the story.


The video celebrates the true story of the Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey company as told by company CEO, Fawn Weaver and actor Jeffrey Wright. Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is the fastest growing American bourbon in US history.

Uncle Nearest CEO, Fawn Weaver, an author and entrepreneur, conducted years worth of research about the connection between Nathan Green and Jack Daniels.  She launched the Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey company in 2016. While traveling abroad in Singapore with her husband, she saw a photo of Jack Daniel and George Green, the son of a previously unknown master whiskey distiller, Uncle Nearest.

After learning about Uncle Nearest and Jack Daniel’s connection, Weaver purchased the 300-acre farm in Lynchburg, Tennessee, where Nearest taught Jack how to distill.  Without any experience in distilling, Weaver launched the Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

Fawn Weaver’s journey was not easy.  Did you know that Fawn Weaver, the woman who owns the most successful Black-owned liquor empire, worth $1.1 billion dollars attempted suicide, not once, but two times?  At the age of 20, Weaver decided to end her life by ingesting pills.  She was rushed to the hospital after her life was saved decided that she had a bigger purpose in life. 

Today, including real estate, Fawn Weaver’s 40% stake in Uncle Nearest makes her worth $480 million, landing her at No. 68 on Forbes’ Richest Self-Made Women list.  Listen to Fawn tell the story Nathan Nearest Green in this interview with Forbes magazine.

  • Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is the fastest-growing American whiskey brand in U.S. history, the best-selling African American-founded spirit brand of all time.
  • Weaver is also the founder of the Nearest Green Foundation. The foundation offers full scholarships to every descendant of Nearest Green.
  • 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 (soon to be 430-acre) distillery in Shelbyville, Tenn., dubbed as “Malt Disney World.”

American Whiskey Magazine Editor Phoebe Calver sat down with Victoria Eady Butler – Master Blender at Uncle Nearest


   Fawn Weaver                                       Victoria Eady Butler

From January 15, 2024 (in honor of MLK Jr. Day) through June 19, 2024 (in honor of Juneteenth), Uncle Nearest is partnering with bars, restaurants, retailers, e-Commerce partners, and our Uncle Nearest #WhiskeyFamily to raise up to $1.4 Million to provide one full tuition scholarship to every accredited Historically Black College & University (HBCU) Nationwide (in-state for those public).

Talk about “Girl Power!”  Fawn Weaver, Victoria Eady Butler, and their business team, comprised mostly of women have taken the industry by storm and have staked their claim that Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is here to stay.

Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey Crosses $100 Million Sales Mark

To learn more about Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey visit the company’s official website at

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