Upstart Uncle Nearest Whiskey Becomes One of the Most Awarded American Whiskeys of 2019
When globally recognized whiskey critic Fred Minnick unveiled his Top 5 American Whiskeys of 2019 on a livestream, in which he blind tasted 35 finalists, he revealed his third top pick to be Uncle Nearest 1820 Single Barrel Whiskey saying, “That is kind of an upset…It’s a whiskey out of Tennessee and they are absolutely pushing the needle…” This blind selection made it the only non-Kentucky whiskey among the select group, surprising industry leaders who have long boasted that the most premium whiskeys hail from the Bluegrass State.
Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey whose headquartered at the Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville, Tennessee spent the entire year of 2019 quietly racking up top awards in spirit competitions and industry publications around the globe, including 10 Best in Class and Best in Show, and 25 Platinum, Double Gold and Gold medals. Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible rated 1820 Single Barrel Whiskey a 94.5, the highest score for a Tennessee Whiskey or Bourbon. He is joined by the more than 10 other industry leaders who rated Uncle Nearest’s three labels – 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey, 1820 Single Barrel Whiskey and 1884 Small Batch Whiskey – between 90-96, with an overall industry-wide rating of 92.6.
For the third year in a row, Cigar & Spirits Magazine named Uncle Nearest its No. 1 whiskey from Tennessee, awarding the brand a Double Gold medal for its 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey, a Double Gold medal for its 1820 Single Barrel and a Gold medal for its 1884 Small Batch expression. The Ultimate Spirits Challenge awarded the brand a Chairman’s Trophy, its highest honor.
At the New Orleans World Bourbon Festival, in a room full of the most elite American whiskey brands, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey was crowned Best American Whiskey. The World Whiskies Awards hosted by Whisky Magazine named the brand an Icon of Whisky, bestowing its highest honor of World’s Best (a title it shared with a top Kentucky Bourbon).
The SIP Awards, the only internationally recognized consumer judging spirits competition, handed Uncle Nearest two Double Gold medals, a Best in Class award, a Gold medal and a highly coveted Consumers’ Choice award. At the China Wine & Spirits Awards, 1884 Small Batch Whiskey took home a Double Gold medal making it the Top American Whiskey at the biggest and most prestigious wine and spirits competition in China. Uncle Nearest 1884 also took home a Double Gold medal at the 2019 Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition hosted by Robert Whitley. For the North American Whiskey Tasting, powered by the Beverage Testing Institute, Uncle Nearest 1856 took home a Platinum medal, the competition’s biggest award.
Stay Informed: Sign up here for the Distillery Trail free email newsletter and be the first to get all the latest news, trends, job listings and events in your inbox.
“When my great-great-grandfather, Nearest Green, was alive, his whiskey was known to be the best,” said Victoria Eady Butler, master blender for Uncle Nearest. “We know this because in all the Nashville papers, the distributors would discount every whiskey from Tennessee and Kentucky on Fridays to drum up business. The only whiskey that was never discounted, and I mean never from what we have found, was the whiskey my great-great-grandfather was making.”