Victoria Eady Butler of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey
An in the Mix Promotional Interview
Victoria Eady Butler
Master Blender and 5th Generation Nearest Green descendant
In this in the Mix promotional interview, Victoria Eady Butler, Master Blender and 5th generation Nearest Green descendant, shares the history behind Uncle Nearest and gives her take on trends she feels the industry should take notice of.
in the Mix: Thank you for taking the time to share the story of Uncle Nearest with us. To start, would you touch on the background of Nearest Green and how Uncle Nearest rose to become the success that it is today?
Victoria Eady Butler: Of course. My grandmother, who was Nearest Green’s granddaughter, made sure that our whole family, and anyone else who would listen, (knew) that her grandfather taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey. And so, I just grew up not putting a whole lot of emphasis on it.
When Fawn (CEO of Uncle Nearest) arrived in Tennessee in 2016, she started meeting the townspeople of Lynchburg and my family, Nearest Green’s descendants. She reached out to me in regards to joining the team and it was an opportunity that I could not say no to — to be a part of continuing my great-great-grandfather’s legacy, one that lay dormant for more than 160 years. It was an opportunity to be a part of something really special. From the start of our brand launching, [our focus] has always been about Nearest and it always will be. It’s all about ensuring that Nearest Green’s legacy is cemented in history.
itM: Can you speak to the brands award-winning whiskey portfolio?
VEB: We have won so many awards and each one is as appreciated as the one before. I’m grateful for each one of them. While it’s my name on the bottle, it’s still all about Nearest Green.
itM: Uncle Nearest recently exceeded $100 million in sales in 2022 and is on track to more than double revenue by the end of 2023. What trends are you paying attention to that the beverage industry should also take notice of?
VEB: I think everyone in the industry should take note that more females are now drinking whiskey and bourbon. Our team has never targeted a particular demographic, but we have taken note of the upward tick in female consumers.
itM: What do you want the food/beverage/hospitality industry to know, or remember about Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey?
VEB: What immediately comes to mind is that we are more than whiskey. It’s not merely a hashtag. Every time a glass of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is raised, you are raising a glass to history.
itM: Can you touch on the philanthropic efforts of Uncle Nearest?
VEB: Given that Nearest was a once-enslaved man, didn’t have rights, couldn’t read, couldn’t write is what we think — basically, he didn’t have an opportunity to be educated — and now for his descendants all these years later, to have that opportunity to continue their education all the way through to their Ph.D. or law degree with the assistance of a foundation in his name, it’s just unbelievable. It’s a blessing that all of the family embraces. And the foundation was established before the whiskey brand was launched. It was one of the things that Fawn thought was needed, and it is dear to her heart as well. A portion of the proceeds go toward the foundation, so selling the whiskey is twofold: ensuring that Nearest’s name is cemented in history, and also giving a leg up to his descendants.
It was such a pleasure to speak with Victoria about the amazing growth of Uncle Nearest. Please be sure to check out the current Uncle Nearest initiatives linked below.