Constellation Brands Inc., Victor, N.Y., acquired a minority stake in Nashville, Tenn.-based Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, a distillery that produces a variety of craft whiskeys. Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery will continue to operate independently to produce, market and sell its products.
The investment is the second for Constellation Ventures, the company’s corporate venture capital function, focused on identifying smaller-scale investment opportunities related to innovative concepts and emerging categories within the alcohol beverage market. Constellation Ventures made its inaugural minority stake investment in August 2015 with Crafthouse Cocktails, a producer of authentic, ready-to-drink, super-premium spirit-based cocktails created by Chicago mixologist Charles Joly.
“Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery brings together two of today’s hottest trends in spirits —whiskey and craft,” said Bill Newlands, executive vice president and chief growth officer for Constellation Brands, in a statement. “The entrepreneurial spirit that made Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery great nearly 150 years ago is winning accolades and enthusiasts again today. Constellation Brands’ support of this entrepreneurial spirit will help Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery accelerate growth as they continue to re-introduce these unique whiskies.”
Originally founded in 1860 by German immigrant Charles Nelson, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery was one of the largest whiskey producers in the United States before a statewide Prohibition closed its doors in 1909, the company says. Charles’ great-great-great grandsons, Andy and Charlie Nelson, reopened the distillery in 2014, using the original family recipe for its Tennessee whiskey.
“Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery was an established whiskey business pioneered by our great-great-great grandfather, and we are honored to continue his legacy,” said Charlie Nelson, chief executive officer of Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, in a statement. “With the support and business acumen of Constellation Ventures, we are eager to progress to the next level in re-establishing our family business while building a strong portfolio of whiskies.”
Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery produces a variety of spirits from its Belle Meade Bourbon, Belle Meade Bourbon Sherry Cask Finish and Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee White Whiskey brands. The Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery portfolio can be found in select locations across the United States.