Constellation Brands - Acquires Majority Share in Nelson's Greenbrier Distillery

Constellation Brands announced it has acquired a majority stake in Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery in Nashville, Tennessee, marking Constellation’s first ventures investment to be fully integrated into the business. Nelson’s Green Brier is a craft Tennessee whiskey distillery, co-founded by brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson, that produces a variety of award-winning offerings under the Belle Meade™ Bourbon brand and is set to release a Tennessee Whiskey later this year. The 75% majority stake by Constellation allows for Nelson’s Green Brier to continue to operate with its existing management team led by Andy and Charlie Nelson, and its employees running the day-to-day operations.

Nelson's Green Brier Distillery - 1414 Clinton St, Nashville, TN, 37203
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Through Constellation’s venture capital group, an initial minority investment was made in Nelson’s Green Brier in 2016. After more than three years of collaborating, sharing consumer insights, and gaining deeper knowledge of two of the top trends in the spirits category – craft and whiskey – Constellation further solidified its goal of broadening its higher-end spirits portfolio by increasing its interest in the distillery.

“Our ventures group was created to identify up-and-coming brands, and we’re excited about one of our first ventures investments being folded into our portfolio,” said Constellation’s President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Newlands. “Whiskey is a red-hot category, and Tennessee whiskey fills a white space for us. Once integrated into our wine and spirits division and benefiting from our market reach, distributor partnerships and consumer insights, we see Nelson’s Green Brier scaling even further in the next few years.”

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Originally established by Charles Nelson in 1860, Nelson’s Green Brier became one of the most successful distilleries in the U.S. until 1909, when Prohibition became law in Tennessee and the distillery was forced to close. Nearly 100 years later, Charles’s great-great-great grandsons, Andy and Charlie Nelson, rebuilt the distillery and began producing the soon-to-be released Tennessee Whiskey using the original recipe Charles Nelson used prior to Prohibition.

Nelsons Green Brier Distillery - Charlie and Andy Nelson
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Nelsons Green Brier Distillery Co-Founders and Brothers, Charlie and Andy Nelson.

“Our family distillery was one of the largest producers of whiskey and spirits in the country prior to Prohibition,” said Charlie Nelson. “Ever since we revived the company, our dream has been to return the Nelson’s Green Brier profile to the national, and even international, marketplace. The relationship we’ve enjoyed over the past several years with Constellation has made it clear they’re the ideal partners to help us achieve the kind of growth we’ve been moving toward all along, while honoring the principles our customers have come to appreciate.”

“We are so thankful for the community of supporters and fans who have been with us since the beginning,” said Andy Nelson. “One of the things that’s really attractive about Constellation is that they understand the value we, as family members and founders, have. Working together, we are committed to taking Nelson’s Green Brier beyond our region.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Constellation Brands is a leading international producer of and marketer of beer, wine and spirits with operations in the U.S., Mexico, New Zealand, Italy and Canada. The company’s Constellation Ventures include investments in Catoctin Creek DistillingBardstown Bourbon CompanyNelson’s Green Brier Distillery, Real McCoy Spirits Corp. and Copper & Kings American Brandy.

Learn more about Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery.
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