Top people moves in drinks: November

Uncle Nearest appoints ‘first’ African-American master blender

Tennesse-based whiskey brand Uncle Nearest has appointed Victoria Eady Butler as its master blender, believed to be the “first known” African-American person to hold the title.

Commenting on her new role, Butler said: “It’s difficult for me to put into words what the creation of this brand has meant to me and my family.”

“Being able to contribute to my great-great-grandfather’s whiskey-making legacy as master blender is an honour, as well as a great responsibility. It feels like I’m picking up right where he left off and I am ready.”

Butler was formerly an executive team member at the distiller, overseeing the Nearest Green Foundation, which provides scholarships to Nearest Green’s descendants. She will now oversee the blending process of Uncle Nearest 1884 Premium Small Batch Whiskey as well as Uncle Nearest 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey.

Fawn Weaver, co-founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest, said: “I remember watching Victoria the first time she entered the blending and tasting room. She was intimidated by the 30 different barrel selections at first, but by the end it was as if she’d been doing this her entire life – the whiskey business is definitely in her blood.

“She proved to us all very early on that she was doing exactly what she was meant to do. Our entire team is grateful and honoured to be here during this time in history when we’ve been given the opportunity to witness the continuation of Nearest Green’s legacy through his bloodline.”

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