This Black Woman-Owned Whiskey Brand Has a Valuation of Almost $1 Billion

Fawn Weaver, CEO and Founder of Uncle Nearest

Meet Fawn Weaver, the 48-year-old CEO and Founder of Uncle Nearest, a Black woman-owned premium whiskey brand that has been making waves in the spirits industry since its launch in 2017. Since then, she has led the brand to become the top-selling Black-owned spirits globally and one of the fastest-growing American whiskey companies, now valued at more than $900 million.Breaking away from the usual trend of white male-led whiskey companies, Uncle Nearest stands out. Weaver recently achieved a significant milestone with the success of a capital raise for its French subsidiary, bringing the total capital raised to $220 million and valuing the company at an impressive $900 million.

The brand, named in honor of the first-known African American master distiller, Nearest Green, has expanded its reach to over 30,000 stores, bars, hotels, and restaurants across 50 U.S. states and 12 countries. The distillery in Shelbyville, Tenn., and a newly acquired property in Cognac, France, are part of the brand's global presence.

Weaver attributes the company's remarkable growth to her unique investment approach. Instead of relying on traditional venture capital or private equity firms, she secured funding from a diverse group of individual accredited investors. This strategy, she believes, aligns with her long-term vision of cementing the legacy of Nearest Green alongside other whiskey greats.

"Now, I am in these rooms that people talk about. But in the beginning, when I was looking for capital, I wasn't in these rooms. What happened is I went out, and I was networking everywhere and pounding the pavement at grocery stores, liquor tastings, trade shows, and golf clubs," Weaver told Fortune.

With a cohort of 170 investors, including notable figures like Craig Leipold and Steve Mosko, Weaver is determined to retain control of Uncle Nearest. She remains focused on expanding into other spirit spaces, including cognac and tequila. Her ultimate goal is to ensure Uncle Nearest remains a beacon of diversity and innovation in the spirits industry.

"It's to become the acquirer and to make sure that in my lifetime, we continue to exist as the first spirit conglomerate that was not founded or led by a white male," she said.

Learn more about the brand via its official website

Also, be sure to follow them on Instagram @UncleNearest

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