Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, a Shelbyville, Tenn.-based American whiskey brand, formed a $50m fund.
The Uncle Nearest Venture Fund was created specifically to invest in minority-founded and owned spirit brands.
Led by Fawn Weaver, Uncle Nearest founder and CEO, the fund has already chosen its first two investments, each company to receive initial funding of $2m, respectively:
- London-based Equiano, an Afro-Caribbean rum founded by Ian Burrell and Aaisha Dadral; and
- Jack From Brooklyn, Inc., a Black-owned distillery in America post Prohibition, and the maker of the Sorel Liqueur.
The fund is guided by a diverse board of directors, which includes:
- Keith Weaver, Executive Vice President of Global Public Policy and External Affairs for Sony Pictures Entertainment,
- Lee Moulton, Head of Partnerships for Google,
- Carolyn Feinstein, former CMO for Dropbox,
- Mark McCallum, former Chief Brands Officer for Brown-Forman,
- Kevin Asato, Portfolio Management for Republic National Distribution Company, and
- Minott Wessinger, founder of McKenzie River Corporation.
Uncle Nearest is the maker of an American whiskey currently available in all 50 states and 12 countries. It is sold in more than 25,000 stores, bars, hotels, and restaurants, and at its 270-acre distillery in Shelbyville, Tenn.,