5 Black Owned Whiskey Brands to Support During 2023 Black History Month (and All Year Long)
Always, but particularly during Black History Month, it is important to show support and appreciation for the many amazing Black-owned businesses that exist throughout the country.
Although there are countless options to choose from, here are five Black-owned whiskey brands you should consider supporting during 2023 Black History Month and all year round.
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Frisky Whiskey may be a flavored whiskey, but don’t let visions of low-quality whiskey play through your head; Frisky Whiskey is really good.
Founder Nicole Young made sure that Frisky contains no artificial flavors, and it shows. Young describes Frisky as “premium whiskey with style and whimsy.” This is her first foray into the whiskey world, and it’s a slam dunk.
“I’m excited about hopefully blazing a trail for people of color and specifically women of color to have a place in whiskey, as in ownership,” Young said. “There’s actually quite a bit of consumer presence as far as people of color goes, but in ownership, there is not. And I hope to be a conduit to more.”
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Founded by Fawn Weaver, this highly acclaimed spirit has earned numerous awards and even landed a spot on Oprah Winfrey’s coveted “Favorite Things” list in 2020. Much of the credit can be attributed to master blender Victoria Eady Butler, who entered the whiskey scene only two years prior when she retired from her job as an analytical manager.
Butler has set herself apart with her blending and tasting style — refusing to drink anything else while sampling Uncle Nearest spirits to maintain her unique palate. By drinking exclusively Uncle Nearest, Victoria has become an “Uncle Nearest Purest” who knows firsthand that this isn’t just great whiskey — it’s legendary.
The incredible story behind Uncle Nearest’s namesake is one of great achievement. Nathan “Nearest” Green, who was enslaved until he was emancipated in 1865, mentored the young Jack Daniel on how to make whiskey.
Green later became the first known African American master distiller in America when Daniel hired him to become the very first Jack Daniel’s master distiller.
Green taught Daniel an important step in the process of making Tennessee whiskey known as the “Lincoln County Process,” where the whiskey is filtered through charcoal before aging it inside casks. This special technique created a unique flavor that has made this iconic spirit a favorite among many.
Du Nord Social Spirits
Chris Montana is the founder of Du Nord Social Spirits, a movement devoted to bringing people together and empowering those who may have not traditionally held power in the room.
Montana’s mission is to open doors and create opportunities for others by providing access to award-winning spirits.
This push primarily began in 2020. After the COVID-19 pandemic changing everything and George Floyd’s death shook the nation, Montana was driven to begin the Du Nord Foundation. which has not only shaped what the brand is today but is a foundation for where Du Nord will become in the future.
“The pandemic and George Floyd’s death happens, and we started the foundation,” Montana said. “Now that we have the foundation, as big as Nord gets is as big as the foundation can get. So, the work that we want to do now has a different purpose.”
With an array of unique flavors, Du Nord Social Spirits has won multiple awards, including Double Gold for its Mixed Blood Whiskey from the New York International Spirits Competition 2022.
Du Nord Social Spirits is currently available in 14 states, but Montana hopes to eventually expand it to all 50.
River Basin Distillery
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River Basin Distillery is located in New Orleans. It sources its whiskey from “Up the [Mississippi] River” and bottles it in Louisiana.
River Basin’s flagship bottling is a rye, aged at least two years and bottled at 94 proof after being distilled from a mashbill comprising 95% rye and 5% malted barley. But beyond making whiskey, River Basin Distillery is also committed to supporting local bartenders during the challenging times of COVID-19.
River Basin Distillery also donates a portion of all proceeds to the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.
Brough Brothers Distillery
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The Yarbrough brothers – Victor, Bryson and Chris – made history in 2021 when they opened Brough Brothers Distillery, the first Black-owned bourbon distillery in Kentucky.
Their mission? To inspire other entrepreneurs of color to “break the ceiling” and challenge the narrative about who a “typical” bourbon customer is.
Victor said the bourbon industry has always been like “an exclusive club, and I believe that our intent is to make it more accessible whether you’re Black, white, Hispanic, Chinese, whatever. We want it to be accessible, … [which] helps change the perception of bourbon itself.”
The brothers also prioritize accessibility by making their bourbon available at an affordable price point of under $30.
With Brough Brothers Distillery, the Yarbroughs are revolutionizing what it means to be a bourbon maker — and showing everyone just how much change is possible.
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