The Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative announce Du Nord Social Spirits as first Business Incubation Program graduate

Chris Montana poses at his Minneapolis distillery, DuNord Social Spirits. The Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative recently announced the small batch distillery as the first Business Incubation Program graduate. (PHOTO CREDIT: Ken Friberg)

LYNCHBURG — Jack and Nearest made history producing whiskey here in Moore County and the two distilleries that bare their names are committed to keeping that tradition alive. On Tuesday, the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative announced their very first graduate of the Business Incubation Program, Du Nord Social Spirits – a small batch distillery based in Minneapolis, Minnesota producing gin, vodka, liqueurs and whiskeys.

Launched by the Jack Daniel Distillery and the Nearest Green Distillery in 2020, The Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative aims to advance diversity within the American whiskey industry with a Business Incubation Program, Leadership Acceleration Program, and the creation of the Nearest Green School of Distilling. The Business Incubation Program offers BIPOC entrepreneurs mentorship in all areas of the distilling business including access to marketing, branding, expanded distribution networks, and other assets and opportunities for growth.

Du Nord Social Spirits was the first business selected for the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative Business Incubation Program in 2020. As part of the program, Du Nord worked with industry experts to transform its branding identity and packaging while receiving mentoring from leaders at both Uncle Nearest and Brown-Forman. Through distributor networking opportunities, the distillery increased its sales footprint and is now available in 10 states across the country. Additionally, Du Nord recently partnered with Delta Air Lines to have its Foundation Vodka available on all domestic Delta flights. 

“Our experience in the Business Incubation Program has been a game-changer while providing the foundational elements of strong branding and helping us develop a path of growth. Without this program, we would not be in the position we are now,” said Du Nord CEO and Head Distiller, Chris Montana. “Our partnership with Delta Air Lines is only possible thanks to the support from Jack Daniel’s. The Nearest & Jack initiative and Brown-Forman literally made the impossible happen.”

The Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative will soon begin accepting applications for the 2022 Business Incubation Program. For more information, visit To learn more about the DuNord Social Spirits story, check out their website.•

{The Lynchburg Times is the only locally-owned newspaper in Lynchburg and also the only woman-owned newspaper in Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}