ALEXANDER CITY, AL — Today, Bourbon+ Magazine, the quarterly magazine devoted to the people, stories, and science behind the bottle, releases its Volume 5, Number 3 issue, a special edition featuring the key players and brands changing the previously white male-dominated Tennessee Whiskey industry. The issue’s cover story, “Kindred Spirits,” highlights three of the biggest names in Tennessee Whiskey today: Nicole Austin, Distiller and General Manager of George Dickel, Melvin Keebler SVP General Manager of Jack Daniel’s Distillery, and Fawn Weaver, CEO and founder of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, and Bourbon+ Magazine’s first-ever external guest editor.
The magazine opens with a note from Weaver that speaks on the initial intention for the issue’s cover story to focus on her and the unprecedented founding story of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, inspired by the world’s first-known Black Master Distiller, Nearest Green. However, Weaver recognized this as a larger opportunity to shine a light on the diverse people that are leading the Tennessee Whiskey industry today – Austin at George Dickel and Keebler at Jack Daniel’s. Together, these three distilleries make up over 90 percent of the sales of the most well-known, top-selling straight bourbon whiskey sold worldwide. She goes on to raise a toast to the pioneers of Tennessee Whiskey history, like Nearest Green, and the pioneers of its future, including Victoria Eady Butler, Uncle Nearest’s Master Blender, and fifth-generation descendant of Green.
“When Bourbon+ offered me the cover story of this issue, I was honored, but it also took me only seconds to turn it down and to suggest a story much more significant than me or the Uncle Nearest brand,” said Weaver. “Melvin Keebler, a Black man, had just been promoted to the head of Jack Daniel’s Distillery. A woman, Nicole Austin, had been kicking butt over at George Dickel as its general manager and master distiller. It dawned on me that the number one brand of bourbon sold worldwide is Tennessee Whiskey, and our three distilleries were responsible for the vast majority of those sales. That meant, for the first time in history, the top bourbon category in the world was run by either a woman, a Black person, or both. That is astounding, especially considering the complex history of enslaved people in this industry. That deserved a spotlight. That deserved to be the cover story.”
In addition to its cover story, this special edition of Bourbon+ paints a picture of the culture of The Volunteer State. Additional feature stories include a roundup of the 12 new brands taking the Tennessee Whiskey Trail by storm; The Lincoln County Process; Tennessee Moonshine; the 25 must-visit Tennessee bars; Tennessee dishes, reinvented; the must-visit cosmopolitan hubs of Tennessee: Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, and Knoxville; how to pair Nashville Hot Chicken with whiskey; and more.
“We so enjoyed working on this special Tennessee edition of Bourbon+, learning the fascinating stories behind the iconic brands, as well as all the new players—of which there are many—on the state’s spirits scene,” says John Thames, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Bourbon+. “It’s a booming industry that’s making waves nationally and even internationally in some cases. One shining example of this is our guest editor Fawn Weaver whose Uncle Nearest brand has skyrocketed. It was truly a joy to curate the stories in collaboration with her.”
Volume 5, Number 3 of Bourbon+ is available for purchase nationwide at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Kroger, and Whole Foods Markets, as well as at specialist whiskey retailers and distilleries. Subscriptions are available to purchase at www.bourbonplus.com.