Uncle Nearest enters the cognac game

Uncle Nearest enter cognac game
The name Nearest Green will now be known throughout France as the Bedford County distillery – named for the former slave who taught Jack Daniel’s to make whiskey – enters the French cognac game. | File Photo

WHISKEY INDUSTRY NEWS | The Uncle Nearest Distillery – a Bedford County distillery with deep Lynchburg roots – recently announced their entrance into the cognac game with the purchase of Domaine Saint Martin located in Cognac, France.

The French subsidiary of Uncle Nearest Distillery recently announced the acquisition of the historic property built in 1669 by the Lord Mayor of Cognac. Nestled along the scenic Charente River in the city of Cognac, this esteemed estate traces its lineage back over 350 years – first to the Lord Mayor of Cognac, Philippe Fé de Ségeville, and subsequently to various cognac-making luminaries including the Martell family, its four-generation custodian.

Encompassing over 100 acres with Charente River frontage and a unique island, the property adjoins a significant cooperage, expansive cellars, and a distillery. Furthermore, its 50 acres dedicated to Grande Champagne vineyards make it Cognac city’s crown jewel. To be labeled Cognac, the spirit must be exclusively produced in the Cognac region of France, which comprises six distinct crus. The Grande Champagne cru stands out as the most sought-after.

“The Uncle Nearest brand thrives on its profound story of love, honor, respect, and heritage. Our mission in Cognac echoes this essence,” remarked Fawn Weaver, Uncle Nearest Founder and CEO.

Brand will launch with another Jeffery Wright narrated film

Throughout the past year, Weaver and her team, involving key spirits industry figures, have delved deep into Cognac’s roots, extracting groundbreaking insights which she believes will captivate global audiences.

“Our brand strategy pivots from the norm. We are unveiling a short film first at several film festivals, then launching the brand,” teased Weaver, hinting at an exploration of Cognac’s history. Similar to The Story of Nearest Green, this cinematic portrayal of Cognac’s ascent across America, Europe, and Asia will be narrated by award-winning actor Jeffrey Wright, with filming commencing this Spring.

Spirits industry stalwart Adrian Parker will take the helm as president of this new venture, which is owned by Uncle Nearest, Inc., but will not share the same brand name. He is flanked by seasoned spirits professionals Brielle Caruso, who serves as Chief Marketing Officer, and Chauncey Hamlett from The Formulation Group, who heads innovation.

“Under Fawn’s guidance and innovative approach, the Uncle Nearest team has created a playbook for independent spirits,” said Adrian Parker. “In four years, they have grown Nearest Green Distillery to the seventh most visited distillery in the world. While there recently, I observed cars backed up for 1.5 miles each way trying to get in, with more than 14,000 visiting that weekend. The Uncle Nearest team went from distribution in one state to all 50 states in less than two years and their sales now rank them in the top 10 of all ultra-premium American whiskey companies, the only independent company in that ranking.”

While more will be unveiled in 2024, Weaver has invited her vast community on Instagram to join her and the Uncle Nearest team on this journey as they seek to prove lightning in a bottle can strike twice. Readers can follow along as well on IG at @unclenearest. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only locally-owned and locally-operated community newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee and one of the few women-owned newspaper in the state. They cover local news and events as well as the tourism and whiskey industries in southern, middle Tennessee. Click here to subscribe.}