Browse Tag

alcohol

2 mins read

Black Owned Tequila Brands You Should Know

In this article, we’re highlighting Black owned tequila brands that are shaking up the industry with bold flavors, rich heritage, and a commitment to quality.

From award-winning labels to innovative newcomers, get ready to discover your new favorite tequila – all while supporting Black entrepreneurs making their mark on the agave scene!

Black Owned Tequila Brands

Jon Basíl

Jon Basil is a Chicago-based, millennial, and minority-owned tequila brand founded in 2018. Their Blanco and Reposado tequilas are made from a blend of highland and lowland agaves, resulting in a smooth taste.

TCapri

TCapri® is an ultra-premium tequila crafted for sipping. Their tequilas are hand-made in small batches in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, using 100% Blue Weber agave and traditional methods.

Tequila with Friends

black owned tequila

Tequila with Friends is a Texas-born tequila made for creating unforgettable memories with your crew.

Monita

black owned tequila

Monita Tequila was created in honor of founder, Serita Braxton’s mother. They offer a smooth 100% agave blanco tequila, perfect for sipping or cocktails.

Disbəlēf

Disbəlēf Spirits, based in Memphis, Tennessee, is crafted from hand-selected 100% blue agave in Jalisco, Mexico. Disbəlēf offers a taste experience that challenges your disbelief about tequila.

Los Hermanos

Los Hermanos is a tequila brand founded by two brothers who share a passion for the spirit. They handcraft their tequila in small batches using 100% agave and traditional methods, offering a smooth Blanco and a Reposado variety.

Ego Tequila

black owned tequila

Ego Tequila is a high-quality 100% agave spirit produced in the heart of Jalisco, Mexico, and is perfect in cocktails or as a celebratory shot.

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2 mins read

Black Owned Rum Brands You Should Know

Looking for a delicious and varied rum experience? Check out some Black owned rum brands!

These companies are innovating with flavors, honoring traditions, and redefining the art of crafting exceptional spirits.

Explore a world of distinctive tastes, rich heritage, and ideal cocktail components. Here’s your guide to some of the most exciting Black owned rum brands you should know.

Black Owned Rum Brands

Pin Drop Rum

Pin Drop Rum originated on Harbour Island, Bahamas. It is made in small batches using a combination of pot and column still distillation methods and aged for a decade in white American oak barrels.

Ten to One Rum

Ten To One Rum is a Caribbean rum brand founded by Marc Farrell in 2019. Ten To One’s name was inspired by the origin of the West Indies Federation, which consisted of 10 countries.

Liv Rum

Liv Rum is slowly fermented and triple pot-distilled to create a crazily complex flavour explosion with a long, sweet finish

Striped Lion

Striped Lion Spiced Rum starts as a pure single rum. It is fermented from organic American molasses and is 100% pot distilled in the Striped Lion Distillery located in Woodbury, New Jersey.

Matugga Rum

Black Owned Rum

An elegant spiced rum infused with a tantalizing age-old Masala Chai blend. Matugga Spiced is enriched with black tea, fresh ginger, fragrant natural spices, and a touch of Scottish honey.

Equiano Rum

Black Owned Rum

Equiano Rum is a premium rum brand that blends rums from the Caribbean and Africa. Their aged rums are matured for 8-10 years in tropical climates, using ex-Cognac and ex-Bourbon casks to create a unique and flavorful profile.

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4 mins read

Two Black-Owned Breweries Break Barriers with Historic Alliance

Two Black-owned breweries, Full Circle Brewing Co. and Crowns & Hops Brewing Co., have announced a groundbreaking strategic alliance aimed at transforming the face of the craft beverage industry.

The Circle of Crowns Beverage Group (CCBG) is an alliance that combines two leading Black-owned companies and centralizes production, sales and marketing between them, to bring locally curated brands and authentic experiences to more retailers and consumers around the world.

This strategic alliance transcends a simple merger; it’s a potent symbol of progress toward inclusivity and expanded opportunity within the craft beverage sector.

Full Circle, headquartered in Fresno, California, already holds the distinction of being the largest Black-owned production brewery in the United States. Crowns and Hops Brewing Co. is the first Black-owned, woman-owned and veteran-owned brewery in Inglewood.

By joining forces with Crowns & Hops, the Inglewood-based brand that ignited a global movement for Black representation in craft beer, the CCBG creates a powerhouse with a powerful mission.

“This strategic alliance leverages the strength of our infrastructures and distributor networks to bring our unique brands to retail shelves around the world,” said Arthur Moye, CEO and Founder of Full Circle. “Together we are better positioned to maximize growth and bring more consumers craft beverages with an aspirational, relevant connection to black culture.”

“We can each apply our No Big Deal skills, those areas where we naturally excel based on our previous knowledge and experiences,” explained Teo Hunter, Crowns & Hops Co-Founder, COO and Head of Brewing Operations. “Arthur at Full Circle is amazing with production, scaling, and the financial side of the business, while Beny and I are experts in branding, marketing, community, and partnerships.”

“Crowns & Hops and Full Circle share the same visions, values, and strategies,” added Beny Ashburn, “The Dope” CEO and Co-founder, Crowns & Hops. “Our collective mission extends beyond production, marketing, and sales; we aim to be a supportive resource for other Black-owned craft beer brands, fostering community and growth within the industry.”

The impact of this alliance is multifaceted. Firstly, it streamlines operations and production for all the participating brands. Full Circle’s established infrastructure and distribution network will be leveraged to ensure wider availability of their unique beverages, allowing consumers across the country (and potentially beyond) to experience their offerings. This expanded reach encourages increased brand recognition and growth for all members of the CCBG.

Secondly, the CCBG tackles a crucial issue – the persistent barriers faced by Black-owned businesses in the craft beverage industry. Historically, Black suppliers have often struggled with limited access to production facilities, distribution networks, and retailer partnerships.

The CCBG aims to dismantle these barriers by creating a consolidated platform with the resources and clout necessary to overcome these challenges. This paves the way for a more level playing field, fostering a more equitable industry landscape.

by Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

Uncle Nearest Acquires French Vineyard to Launch Cognac Brand

In a move that is sure to shake up the cognac industry, Uncle Nearest, the most-awarded Bourbon and American Whiskey company of 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, has acquired Domaine Saint Martin, a 100-acre estate in Cognac, France, with 50 acres of vineyards dedicated to the Grande Champagne appellation. This acquisition makes Uncle Nearest the largest Grande Champagne vineyard owner in the city of Cognac.

The Grande Champagne appellation is the most prestigious in Cognac, and it is known for producing the highest quality cognacs. The grapes from the Grande Champagne region are known for their high acidity and minerality, which gives the resulting cognacs their complex flavors and aromas.

“The Uncle Nearest brand thrives on its profound story of love, honor, respect, and heritage. Our mission in Cognac echoes this essence,” remarked Fawn Weaver, Uncle Nearest Founder and CEO.

Throughout the past year, Weaver and her team, involving key spirits industry figures, have delved deep into Cognac’s roots, extracting groundbreaking insights which she believes will captivate global audiences.

“Our brand strategy pivots from the norm. We are unveiling a short film first at several film festivals, then launching the brand,” teased Weaver, hinting at an exploration of Cognac’s history that surpasses even Uncle Nearest’s meticulous research standards. This cinematic portrayal of Cognac’s ascent across America, Europe, and Asia will be narrated by award-winning actor Jeffrey Wright, with filming commencing this Spring.

Uncle Nearest plans to use the grapes from its vineyards to produce a new line of cognacs that will be released in the coming years. The company has also announced that it will be investing in the Domaine Saint Martin estate to improve the vineyards and the distillery.

The acquisition of Domaine Saint Martin marks a pivotal moment for Uncle Nearest, granting the company full control over the cognac production process, from grape to glass. This pivotal control ensures the highest quality standards for their cognacs.

Furthermore, this acquisition underscores Uncle Nearest’s unwavering dedication to the cognac market, demonstrating a long-term commitment and a sincere intention to emerge as a prominent player in the industry.

Notably, Uncle Nearest’s acquisition of Domaine Saint Martin is a groundbreaking event in the cognac industry, marking the first instance of an American company taking ownership of a significant cognac estate.

This acquisition coincides with a transformative phase in the cognac sector dominated by a small number of large companies. These companies have traditionally focused on producing cognacs for the mass market. However, in recent years, there has been a growing demand for premium cognacs.

Uncle Nearest is now well-positioned to capitalize on this growing demand.

by Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

Urban Garden Brewing: DC’s First Black Woman-Owned Brewery

Washington, D.C. is home to a thriving craft beer scene, but one brewery stands out from the crowd: Urban Garden Brewing, founded by Eamoni Collier. Urban Garden is the first Black woman-owned brewery in the city, and it’s quickly making a name for itself with its unique and innovative beers.

Collier’s passion for brewing began in her uncle’s backyard, where she experimented with different ingredients and recipes. After years of honing her skills, she launched Urban Garden Brewing in 2022.

Her beers are inspired by her love of nature and her desire to create beers that are both flavorful and accessible. She uses a variety of fresh and local ingredients, including fruits, herbs, and spices, to create beers that are truly unique.

She is also passionate about using her platform to promote diversity and inclusion in the craft beer industry. She often hosts events and workshops that are designed to introduce people of color to the world of craft beer. She also works to mentor other aspiring brewers, particularly women and people of color.

In recent news, Urban Garden Brewing is getting ready to open its first physical location in the Fort Totten neighborhood of DC. The new brewery will feature a taproom, a retail store, and an outdoor patio. Collier is excited to finally have a space where she can brew her own beer and share her love of craft beer with the community.

In September 2023, Urban Garden Brewing successfully raised over $24,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to cover the legal and permitting costs of opening the brewery. The campaign surpassed its goal in just 11 days.

In addition to opening a new brewery, Collier is also working on expanding her beer distribution.

One of Urban Garden’s distribution partners is Crown and Hops, another Black-owned beer brand and brewery in Inglewood, California. Collier is committed to working with other BIPOC-owned businesses and building community through craft beer.

Her beers are currently available in over 40 bars, restaurants, and specialty liquor stores throughout DC. She is also in talks with several distributors in other states.

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8 mins read

Uncle Nearest Whiskey’s Rise to Success: Insights from Master Blender Victoria Eady Butler

Victoria Eady Butler, an award-winning whiskey master blender and the great-great-granddaughter of Nearest Green, is an instrumental figure behind Uncle Nearest, Inc., the fastest-growing whiskey brand in U.S. history.

Initially joining the team as the VP of Administration in March 2019, she was later appointed as the distillery’s Master Blender, combining her family legacy with her passion for blending.

Victoria Eady Butler

In this interview, she shares her career experiences and insights into the whiskey industry, including the success and growth of Uncle Nearest. She also touches on the industry’s evolving trends and challenges and gives a sneak peek into exciting new initiatives and products in the pipeline for the brand.

Victoria Eady Butler

What is it like to be a direct descendant of Nathan “Nearest” Green, and how has his legacy influenced your work with Uncle Nearest Whiskey?

It is the most rewarding experience imaginable. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and still in awe of the rich legacy that my great-great grandfather carved out; especially given that when he started distilling, he was not a free man. In spite of the challenges that surely came with being enslaved, Nearest Green was a creative man who crafted some of the best whiskey around.

I am extremely proud of my heritage and grateful to continue what he started. My work wouldn’t even be possible had it not been for my great-great-grandfather who laid the cornerstone for everything I do regarding blending. The whiskey is a byproduct of who we are. Nearest Green not only made whiskey, but made history.

Can you share any insights or lessons you’ve learned from your work as a master blender, and how this has influenced your perspective on the whiskey industry?

Coming into spirits, I knew very little about the industry, so I started reading and learning all I could from my team members, my whiskey family, and others in the industry. If the spirits industry is something you really have an interest in and a passion for, I think you just have to go for it.

Fawn Weaver didn’t know a thing about making whiskey. She was not in the industry prior to Uncle Nearest. She enjoyed a glass of whiskey, but she didn’t know anything about distilling, and look at where our brand is today. You have to be committed, dedicated, eager to learn, and put everything you hold dear into it. You’ve got to surround yourself with people who are knowledgeable, patient, and in my case, those who are very kind.

My team members embraced me knowing that I didn’t come from the spirits industry. They’ve shown me so much grace and patience. I have learned so much from them. The biggest thing is setting aside your fear of failure and going for it.

In 2022, Uncle Nearest achieved sales exceeding $100 million, and the company is projected to double its revenue by the end of 2023. What do you think has been the key factor in Uncle Nearest’s success and rapid growth over the past year?

Everything we do starts at the top with our CEO, Fawn Weaver. She is the most creative, strategic and innovative person I’ve ever worked alongside. Even with an accelerated pace, everything we have done has been well-planned. When it’s executed, it’s done with excellence or not at all.

What are some of your favorite whiskey cocktails or pairings, and why?

How I drink Uncle Nearest depends on the atmosphere. I love a neat pour while enjoying a good cigar. I also enjoy drinking a well-balanced Uncle Nearest cocktail with the company of family and friends. My favorite cocktail of late is a Classic Daiquiri made with Uncle Nearest 1884.

Can you share with us a memorable experience or achievement from your career in the whiskey industry that you are particularly proud of?

It was very exciting to go into the lab for the very first time and face 31 or 36 samples of whiskey for me to decide which ones would go into the blending process. It was very exciting then –– and it still is! The nerves are gone, but the excitement is there every time I blend.

Being named Master Blender of the Year four times over was also a tremendous honor. Every award, accolade, and honor we receive furthers Nearest Green’s legacy. We are grateful for each one.

How do you see the whiskey industry evolving in the coming years, and what do you think will be the biggest trends or challenges?

I think everyone in the industry should take note that more females are now drinking whiskey and bourbon. Our team has never targeted a particular demographic, but we have taken note of the upward tick in female consumers. I also hope to see more people of color in positions that are visible like master distiller, master blender- people in decision-making roles. I’d like to see more women in those positions as well. We’re already seeing a shift and it’s beautiful!

Can you tell us about any new products or initiatives that Uncle Nearest has in the works, and how you plan to build on your recent success?

There are several exciting things happening with the brand right now, including our CEO Fawn’s Thank You Tour. This year she is spending 4 months visiting our military bases thanking our troops for both their service and their unwavering support of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey.

We also just hosted the first Spirits on the Rise Summit, an event presented by the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative. It was a day and a half of emerging brands networking, learning, and presenting to top investors, bankers, distributors, and more. This is the first event of its kind, and we are really proud of the work our initiative continues to do.

Lastly, our Straight Rye is continuing to roll out throughout the United States, and I have really enjoyed adding that to my tastings when I go from city to city. The excitement around the rye is palpable, and we know it will help us continue to add to our long list of top awards.

by Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

Merger Creates the Largest Black Owned Brewery in the U.S.

Full Circle Brewing and Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, recently announced a merger that will create the largest Black owned brewery in the United States.

The merger will bring together Full Circle’s portfolio of fruit-forward products such as the Illa and Vibes series and the Sonoma Cider brands with Speakeasy’s traditional set of offerings, including Big Daddy IPA West Coast IPA, Prohibition Ale, and Metropolis hoppy American lager.

“I am excited for the passing of the baton to the next generation of Black Entrepreneurs in the craft beer space,” said Speakeasy CEO Ces Butner. “I will continue to sit on the advisory board and look forward to seeing the Speakeasy brand grow and evolve.”

Full Circle CEO Arthur Moye also expressed his excitement about the merger, saying, “We are excited to apply what we learned from revitalizing Full Circle and increasing sales by 5,000% to San Francisco’s longest-running independent brewery. We plan to breathe new life into current brands and expand its range of products.”

black owned brewery

The merger marks Full Circle’s second acquisition of a Bay Area brewery following the acquisition of Sonoma Cider in 2020. It rounds out the portfolio of the Full Circle Brand Family by adding traditional beer styles from Speakeasy’s lineup of brews.

The combined entity will have a production capacity of over 20,000 barrels or around 350,000 cases annually, making it the largest Black-owned brewery in the United States.

Although both brands plan to maintain their existing distribution networks, the company is still determining the future of the Speakeasy taproom and where the brand will be produced.

Fresno-based Full Circle Brewing has been in operation since 2000, with Moye taking ownership of the brewery in 2016, after selling his accounting practice. The brewery’s beer volume reached 2,150 barrels in 2021, according to the Brewers Association’s (BA) May/June 2022 edition of the New Brewer.

Founded in 1997, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers’ output has declined considerably since its 2015 high of 32,673 barrels, according to production data collected by the BA. Its most significant drop-off in recent years took place from 2016-2017, when volume declined from 27,000 barrels to 5,446 barrels. It fell further in 2018, to 2,100 barrels. In 2021, the most recent year for which BA data is available, Speakeasy produced 5,000 barrels.

Butner acquired Speakeasy out of receivership in 2018 and worked to rebuild its distribution network, a part of the industry he was well acquainted with as the former owner of Oakland-based Horizon Beverage. Butner sold Horizon to Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2015, which brought it into its network of wholly owned distributors before selling it to Matagrano, Inc. and Markstein Sales Company last summer.

The merger of these two breweries not only creates a larger Black-owned brewery but also brings together two distinct brewing styles and product portfolios, potentially expanding the reach of both brands.

No financial terms of the transaction were disclosed.

by Tony O. Lawson

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2 mins read

Black-Owned Uncle Nearest Whiskey Crosses $100 Million Sales Mark

Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, the most-awarded Bourbon and American Whiskey of 2019, 2020, and 2021, announced today that its sales exceeded $100 million through October 2022, with an on-track forecast to more than double that total by the end of 2023.

In 2021, Uncle Nearest announced it had become the best-selling African American owned and founded spirit brand in history, selling 1.5 million bottles of its sought after super premium whiskey.

uncle nearest
CEO and Founder Fawn Weaver

“When we entered the bourbon market, we had no idea we were making history as the first and only brand to commemorate an African American, and the first major spirit company to be founded and led by a leadership team of all women,” said Fawn Weaver, Chairman, CEO and founder of Uncle Nearest.

“The question on the mind of so many in the CPG and spirits industry was, could a brand with a story broaching American topics no one had ever attempted be embraced by consumers of every background, gender, and race? That answer has become abundantly clear. The world had been waiting for Uncle Nearest for more than 160 years, they just didn’t realize it until our bottles hit shelves.”

Its recently expanded 323-acre distillery is a masterclass in storytelling and purpose-driven marketing. It has already welcomed more than 100,000 guests with that number increasing significantly every week from all over the world.

uncle nearest
Master Blender Victoria Eady Butler and great-great-grand daughter of the whiskey brand’s namesake, Nearest Green.

“Our goal is to cement the legacy of Nearest Green in the history books and in the hearts and minds of people all over”, said Victoria Eady Butler, fifth-generation Nearest Green descendant and Uncle Nearest Master Blender.

Uncle Nearest is currently sold in all 50 states and 12 countries and is sold in more than 25,000 stores, bars, hotels, and restaurants, as well as at its 323-acre Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville, Tenn.

-Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

How Exactly Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Heart?

The narrative around drinking alcohol is something that is constantly changing. Is drinking alcohol always bad for you? Does drinking in moderation actually help your heart health? Is there a certain amount you should drink to have the best health possible?

We all know that excessive drinking is bad for your health. However, does drinking in moderation improve your health?

You might’ve heard that drinking a glass of wine is good for the heart—it’s one of the most common beliefs around alcohol and heart health and has been backed by some small preliminary studies in the past.

Recent developments, however, tell a different story. Studies from the World Heart Federation as of January 20th, 2022 contradict this previous information.

What Is the World Heart Federation?

The World Heart Federation is a Geneva-based organization that advocates for heart health and represents hundreds of heart associations worldwide. They recently released a new policy titled ‘The Impact of Alcohol Consumption on Cardiovascular Health’.

The crux of this policy brief is that any amount of alcohol—not just heavy drinking—can increase the risk of heart disease. Even small amounts of alcohol can have negative effects. The brief even articulates that previous studies claiming that alcohol in moderation can be good for you were based on observational research, and did not account for other important factors.

According to The World Heart Federation, the most common health problems associated with alcohol consumption are:

  • Coronary Disease
  • Several Types of Cancer
  • Aortic Aneurysm
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stroke
  • Weight Gain

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, with over 17.9 million lives being attributed to it every year. In 2019 alone, there were 2.4 million deaths due to heart disease as a result of alcohol consumption. The World Heart Federation has since called for a relative reduction of 10% in the per capita consumption of alcohol between 2013 to 202.

While the World Heart Federation takes a staunch approach against alcohol consumption, the American Heart Association (AHA) has a more flexible perspective. According to the AHA, moderation when drinking alcohol is key—their moderation metric proposes no more than one drink a day for women, and two drinks a day for men.

According to Dr. Mariell Jessup, the Chief Science and Medical Officer to the American Heart Association, “we concluded that if one doesn’t drink alcohol, do not start; and if one does drink alcohol, limit intake.”

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Weight?

In terms of weight gain, simply drinking two glasses of beer or wine a day can have a noticeable impact, especially if you are already on a diet or trying to manage or lose weight. Two 12 ounce beers can be anywhere between 280 calories to 382 calories, while two 12 ounce glasses of wine can be anywhere from 350 calories to 364 calories. If you’re trying to lose weight, then alcohol probably isn’t the best choice for you. If you want to be healthy, try replacing your alcohol intake with water.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, it comes down to you. If you do decide to drink alcohol, make sure to do it in moderation so it doesn’t have a negative effect on your health.

A huge part of your personal wellbeing comes from your daily habits and lifestyle, so if you incorporate minimizing alcohol into your life, you’ll have a higher chance of improving your personal health.

A well-rounded strategy for health needs more than solely dieting or exercise, or even limiting alcohol consumption.

To learn more about how to reach your health and fitness goals, visit Ethical Inc. today.

2 mins read

First Black Owned Distillery in US Lands Distribution Deal With Delta Airlines

Minnesota’ based Du Nord Social Spirits is the first Black owned distillery in the country. They recently landed a deal with Delta Airlines to sell their Foundation Vodka on domestic flights. By 2022, Delta plans to sell other Du Nord products onboard and make the distillery’s spirits available on international flights.

black owned distillery

When Delta approached Du Nord last summer, the company was feeling the economic impact of the pandemic. During the civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd, their warehouse building was set on fire and flooded by its sprinkler system.

It took more than a year to work out the details of the deal, and for Du Nord to scale up its production to meet Delta’s needs.

“When this opportunity came about, we realized there was no way, with our equipment and capacity, that we would be able to do all of this on our own,” said Du Nord co-founder, Chris Montana. “We’ve had to get creative about some ways that we do things.”

The distillery, which recently changed its name from Du Nord Craft Spirits to Du Nord Social Spirits, was inspired by the 12,000 people who donated $1 million to their Go Fund Me after their buildings were damaged.

During that time Du Nord switched from making spirits to making hand sanitizer. They also turned their brick-and-mortar location into a food and supplies donation and distribution center.

Chris and his wife, Shanelle decided to use the money to start the Du Nord Foundation to support other businesses that had been impacted, many of which did not have insurance.

Du Nord Social Spirits says they will give a portion of sales from their vodka on Delta flight to their Du Nord Foundation, which helps give grants to local businesses and entrepreneurs who were impacted by the unrest following the death of Floyd.

Tony O. Lawson


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