Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, the flagship brand of Nearest Green Distillery, Shelbyville, Tenn., released of its long-awaited new packaging containing whiskey 100-percent distilled, aged and bottled by Uncle Nearest. It also unveiled its 2022 slate of whiskeys, which uses four different recipes. 

In addition to its current portfolio of core and distillery exclusive whiskeys, this year Nearest Green Distillery will release Uncle Nearest Rye, Uncle Nearest Single Barrel Rye, and a new more widely available Uncle Nearest Single Barrel Whiskey.

“Since the inception of our brand, everything in our bottles was blended to perfection by our master blender, Victoria Eady Butler, but the whiskey was sourced. Our own whiskey began fully maturing last year, and what we have in our bottles now is what we believe is the best whiskey we’ve ever released,” said Fawn Weaver, founder and CEO of Nearest Green Distillery, in a statement. “Some call Uncle Nearest a straight bourbon whiskey, some call us straight Tennessee Whiskey. We don’t care, as our whiskey meets the legal requirement of both distinctions. What we do care is that you call us super-premium whiskey as that is what our namesake made, and it is what our team and partners have been working nonstop to make each and every day.”

Among the greatest change to the new packaging is the replacement of the sketch of the property where Nearest originally distilled by the insignia of Nearest Green Distillery, which boasts a dram of whiskey encased by a horseshoe, signifying its iron Tennessee roots. Victoria Eady Butler, fifth-generation Nearest Green descendant, who has been named Master Blender of the Year by Whisky Magazine, VinePair and The Spirits Business, also added a note and her signature to the front of every newly released bottle.

“Our first-generation Uncle Nearest bottles shared the history of my great-great-grandfather and his significance to the Tennessee Whiskey coming out of the hills and hollows around Lynchburg,” Eady Butler said. “Our new generation of bottles reflect the future of our brand and our Shelbyville distillery being what cements his legacy for my family and every future generation of whiskey lovers. This is 160 years in the making and damn it if we didn't figure out how to perfect it. Nearest has always deserved this.”

Last week, the company revealed via social media its plans to turn all their original bottles into collector’s items, encouraging buyers to “clear the shelves” of the “prelude” Uncle Nearest bottles and make way for the new editions.

“The packaging we used since our inception is no more as of 2022,” said Katharine Jerkens, chief business officer. “If you walk into any retail store from coast to coast, you will notice something familiar ― empty Uncle Nearest shelves. We waited for our Whiskey Family to completely sell us out, and now we are restocking with the bottles that will permanently cement the legacy of Nearest Green, the world’s first known African American master distiller.”

The seven bottles in their 2022 whiskey slate were first be released at the 323-acre Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville, Tenn., with 1884 Small Batch Whiskey debuting in late January and cases beginning to ship into markets across the country. In December 2021, the company released the first new bottles of its Master Blend Edition whiskey exclusively at the distillery.