Uncle Nearest & Jack Daniel's Partner To Push Diversity Whiskey Industry

Source: Uncle Nearest / Jack Daniel’s

Uncle Nearest and Jack Daniel’s are partnering up once again.

 

Yesterday (Jun.17), The Jack Daniel Distillery and the Nearest Green Distillery announced the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative. Its mission is to help advance diversity within the American whiskey industry. Both companies are opening up their wallets and providing a combined pledge of $5 million. The money will help create the Nearest Green School of Distilling, develop the Leadership Acceleration Program (LAP) for apprenticeships, and establish the Business Incubation Program (BIP), focused on providing expertise and resources to African Americans entering the spirits industry as entrepreneurs.

Working with leaders from both companies for the past year, Motlow State College, which is the fastest-growing college in Tennessee, develop a curriculum for the Nearest Green School of Distilling. The press release revealed the STEM-based, and employable skills focused program has already passed Motlow State requirements and is now awaiting approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents to begin moving toward accreditation by the institution’s accrediting body SACSCOC. The certificate program could possibly be offered as early as Fall 2021.

Here is the breakdown of both (LAP) and (BIP):

“The Leadership Acceleration Program (LAP) will offer apprenticeships specifically to African Americans already in the whiskey industry, who are wanting to become a head distiller, head of maturation, or production manager. The inaugural apprentices have already been identified and will begin shadowing at top distilleries throughout the country. The third arm of the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative is the Business Incubation Program (BIP) that will offer African American entrepreneurs mentorship in all areas of the distilling business, including access to top marketing firms, branding executives, expanded distribution networks and other assets and opportunities to grow their spirits businesses.”

“Generally, when companies talk about the need to improve diversity, few immediate action steps follow,” said Fawn Weaver, CEO, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey. “Our group is different. We are doers, and we all agreed to work together to improve diversity in our industry, and specifically, a way to get African Americans into top positions within our industry.”

Speaking on the partnership Lawson Whiting, President and Chief Executive Officer, Brown-Forman Corporation, the parent company of Jack Daniel’s stated:

“Given our deep commitment to diversity and inclusion, I am thrilled we are coming together in this way today. This collaboration allows the extraordinary friendship of Nearest and Jack, and the hope they embodied during racially divided times in our country’s history, to help us advance the next generation of African American leaders in our industry.”

“Given our deep commitment to diversity and inclusion, I am thrilled we are coming together in this way today. This collaboration allows the extraordinary friendship of Nearest and Jack, and the hope they embodied during racially divided times in our country’s history, to help us advance the next generation of African American leaders in our industry.”

Fawn Weaver, CEO, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey added:

“Generally, when companies talk about the need to improve diversity, few immediate action steps follow. Our group is different. We are doers, and we all agreed to work together to improve diversity in our industry, and specifically, a way to get African Americans into top positions within our industry.

“Nearest Green taught Jack Daniel how to make Tennessee whiskey, and we’re incredibly proud our companies are joining forces to further their legacies of excellence, and to make distilling and the whiskey industry we love more diverse.”

The move is one of many by companies to help usher in change and diversity following the fatal arrest of George Floyd, which has sparked a wave of civil unrest across the globe. This is something we can definitely get behind.

Photo: Uncle Nearest / Jack Daniel’s

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