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Uncle Nearest Distillery, also known as Nearest Green Distillery, is a whiskey distillery located in Shelbyville, Tennessee – just 45 minutes south of Nashville. It is named in honor of Nathan “Nearest” Green, an African-American master distiller who is credited with teaching Jack Daniel how to distill whiskey. Green’s contribution to American whiskey history had been largely overlooked until recent years.

Uncle Nearest Whiskey, a brand steeped in history and craftsmanship, offers a distinctive experience that appeals to the discerning traveler seeking a blend of rich narratives and refined flavors.

Learn the captivating story of Uncle Nearest Whiskey, explore its significance in Tennessee’s whiskey tradition, and discover why every whiskey enthusiast traveler should consider this destination as a must-visit on their Nashville travel itinerary.

Unveiling the Legacy of Uncle Nearest Whiskey

The history of Uncle Nearest Whiskey is intertwined with the life of Nathan “Nearest” Green, an African American master distiller whose contribution to whiskey-making remained obscured for decades. Nathan Green was a slave on Dan Call Farm. He created the charcoal filtering process that he brought over from Africa, a filtering process used to purify their water in Africa. 

With its roots tracing back to the 19th century, the brand’s revival and recognition have sparked a resurgence of appreciation for Green’s role in crafting exceptional spirits. For whiskey enthusiasts, this legacy provides an exclusive opportunity to delve into the lesser-known chapters of bourbon history.  



Uncle Nearest & Jack Daniels

In the heart of Tennessee’s rolling hills, a remarkable story unfolded that intertwined the lives of Jack Daniel and Nathan “Nearest” Green, leaving a lasting mark on the world of whiskey. Jack Daniel, a young boy adopted by Dan Call during his childhood, grew up on the Call family farm. Meanwhile, Nearest Green, a skilled slave, was an integral part of the Call Farm, particularly known for his expertise in crafting whiskey. Dan Call, a preacher by vocation with a clandestine passion for distillation, capitalized on Nearest’s proficiency to produce and distribute his coveted spirits.

Amidst the fragrant haze of smoke and the rhythmic clatter of horse-drawn buggies transporting barrels of whiskey, Jack’s inquisitive nature was piqued from a tender age. The sight of this orchestrated dance between tradition and commerce left an indelible curiosity within him. In his early teens, fate wove their paths even closer, as Dan Call introduced Jack to Nearest Green. This meeting would prove pivotal in the legacy of Tennessee whiskey.

Under Nearest’s seasoned guidance, Jack embarked on an educational journey that unveiled the intricate artistry behind whiskey production. Nearest, a master of his craft, imparted not only the technical nuances of distillation but also the rich history and time-honored traditions that infused each drop of the amber elixir with character. This mentorship fostered a deep connection between the two, laying the foundation for a partnership that would impact the future of the Tennessee spirits industry.

As Jack Daniel stepped into his own as a distiller, he merged his keen business acumen with the knowledge instilled by Nearest. While Nearest Green quietly labored behind the scenes, it was Jack who brought their collaborative creation to the forefront, branding it with his own name. The distinct and refined taste of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey, attributed to their shared craftsmanship, soon gained recognition far beyond the hills of their humble beginnings.

Upon Nearest Green’s retirement, his legacy continued through the hands of his sons, who seamlessly transitioned their expertise to join forces with the burgeoning Jack Daniel’s brand. This intergenerational bond was a testament to the enduring influence of mentorship and the shared passion that transcended societal divisions.

The story of Jack Daniel and Nathan “Nearest” Green encapsulates not only the craftsmanship of whiskey-making but also the power of collaboration and mentorship. Their story stands as a testament to the profound impact that shared knowledge and respect can have, leaving a legacy that continues to be celebrated by whiskey enthusiasts and history aficionados alike.


Craftsmanship and Distillation Process

Uncle Nearest Whiskey stands out not only for its compelling narrative but also for its commitment to craftsmanship. The distillation process adheres to traditional methods that pay homage to Tennessee’s whiskey heritage. The meticulous attention to detail and the emphasis on quality result in a range of spirits that epitomize excellence. Every corner of the facility tells a story, making it a haven for those who appreciate both historical significance and architectural ingenuity.


Significance and Impact

The brand’s significance reaches beyond whiskey, as it breaks barriers in the industry and champions diversity and inclusion. With a commitment to honoring Nathan Green’s legacy, Uncle Nearest Whiskey showcases the transformative power of acknowledging forgotten narratives.

Continuing the legacy forged by Nathan “Nearest” Green, the first Black master distiller in the United States, the brand now proudly ushers in a new era with its first Black female master blender, Victoria Eady Butler. This remarkable individual stands as a beacon of innovation and representation in the world of spirits. To add to the brand’s legacy, Victoria is the great-great-granddaughter of Green. 

Building upon the rich foundation laid by Nearest Green, her expertise not only celebrates a centuries-old tradition but also serves as an inspiration for diversity and equality within the industry. As she crafts exceptional spirits with unwavering dedication, she embodies the essence of progress and inclusion, carrying forward the spirit of Uncle Nearest into a future defined by excellence and opportunity. 


Tasting Uncle Nearest Whiskey

The heart of the Uncle Nearest experience lies in its exquisite range of offerings. Each whiskey has a story to tell and a distinct flavor profile that tantalizes the senses. From robust notes of caramel and vanilla to the subtle hints of spice, these spirits are a symphony of flavors that dance across the palate. 

The distillery has pre-planned all of their bottle releases for the next 15 years, making for a great line up to look forward to.

While Uncle Nearest is a whiskey distillery, they have also evolved with the times and have a non-alcoholic speakeasy on the grounds, a music stage, BBQ restaurant and the longest bar in the world (according to the Guiness Book of World Records). Guests can spend an entire day on the distillery grounds enjoying a range of flavors from food to whiskey.

Humble Baron – Restaurant at Uncle Nearest

Nestled at the heart of entertainment and culinary excellence, Humble Baron beckons you to a unique and unforgettable experience. With its jaw-dropping 518-foot long showpiece bar gracefully encircling an indoor stage, this venue redefines the art of dining and entertainment. Here, guests revel in elevated cuisine and expertly crafted cocktails while being serenaded by live music in a state-of-the-art setting.


Barrel House BBQ – Restaurant at Uncle Nearest

Nestled within the historic Nearest Green Distillery in the picturesque town of Shelbyville, Tennessee, Barrel House BBQ is a culinary gem that’s all about delivering a taste of perfection. Their claim to fame? The legendary ‘Grilled Cheese on Crack’ sandwich, a true revelation in comfort food. Voted as the #1 Grilled Cheese in Tennessee in 2017. You’re given the choice of American or Pepper Jack cheese, which they generously stuff with their mouth watering pit-smoked pulled pork, pulled chicken, or smoked sausage. To elevate the experience to a whole new level, they drizzle it with their tantalizing Habanero sauce, lovingly butter it, and grill it to crispy, gooey perfection. The result? Pure deliciousness that’s hard to resist. Barrel House BBQ at Uncle Nearest Distillery is not just a dining destination; it’s a flavorful journey that will leave you craving for more.


Philo + Frank’s — First Non-Alcoholic Speakeasy Designed to Educate

Through a red refrigerator inside the stand, visitors will find Philo + Frank’s, a non-alcoholic speakeasy that’s designed to educate guests about Tennessee’s role in the women’s suffrage movement and temperance movement.



Visiting Uncle Nearest Distillery

For travelers seeking an immersive encounter with history, craftsmanship, and culture, the Uncle Nearest Distillery distillery is a revelation. 

Shelbyville is known as the “Walking Horse Capital of the World”. The distillery itself was built on a walking horse farm, with the rickhouse erected on the old horse stall barn. The distillery was founded by Fawn Weaver, a businesswoman and author, who sought to celebrate Nathan Green’s legacy and contributions to the whiskey industry. The facility was designed to not only produce high-quality whiskey but also to educate visitors about the history of Nathan Green and his impact on American whiskey-making.

Plans of building an amphitheater and glamping grounds are on the horizon for the distillery, with the intent for it to be a family destination. 


Crafting Unforgettable Moments

Whether it’s sampling a signature whiskey cocktail at Humble Baron the world’s longest bar or enjoying a private tasting session guided by knowledgeable experts, Uncle Nearest Whiskey offers experiences that resonate with a diverse range of travelers. The brand’s dedication to history, quality, and community engagement makes it a perfect fit for those who seek more than just a standard distillery tour. The personalized attention and thoughtfully curated experiences cater to the tastes and preferences of all who walk through its doors.


As the sun sets over the Nashville skyline, the echoes of Uncle Nearest Whiskey’s past continue to resonate, inviting travelers to become part of a narrative that defies time. This is not just a destination; it’s a journey that celebrates heritage, craftsmanship, and the spirit of innovation. 


Uncork the legacy, savor the flavors, and let Uncle Nearest Whiskey transport you to a realm where history and taste intertwine in perfect harmony. 

— Book with Mint Julep Experiences for Transportation from Nashville and Exclusive Experiences & Access at Uncle Nearest Distillery 


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