For the Culture: Black Owned Liquor Brands You Can Buy Right Now
African American business owners are continuing to further expand into industries where we previously have been MIA or severely underrepresented. From contractors and restaurant owners, to tech startups and real estate, Black-owned businesses are growing at a rapid pace. One question we often see asked in the African American community is “are there any black owned liquor brands ” I can buy from. So today we’ve put together a starters list and plan to continue to add to this list with future articles.
Before we get to the list, we did want to separate fact from fiction because many consumers believe some brands are black or minority owned when they are in fact just being promoted or endorsed by a spokesperson who either has no ownership in the brand OR is a minority owner with ownership gained through their agreement to use their celebrity status to promote. Think Sean “Diddy” Combs and Ciroc, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Effen Vodka, Ludacris and Conjure Cognac. So after putting on our research cap, here are several black owned liquor brands started by and/or owned by African american entrepreneurs. This one’s for the culture, so if you didn’t know what’s what, here’s your chance to find out!
- Founder: Fawn Weaver
- Location: Tennessee
- Price: $43.99 and up (Depending on location, and which expression of whiskey)
2019 was big for Uncle Nearest, 2020 is trending in the same direction. You may have heard of this one because it got a lot of attention recently. Uncle Nearest is named after the Nathaniel “Nearest” Green, the first African American master distiller in the United States who was not only a slave but who taught Jack Daniel’s how to make whiskey. After learning of his story, Fawn Weaver, an African-American best selling author resurrected his name and launched the brand. Today, Uncle Nearest is available in 48 states and 148 countries, and is the fastest-growing independent American spirit. They offer 3 expressions, 1884, 1856, and a single barrel, 1820. A portion of sales are being redirected to a college fund for the descendants of Green’s family.
- Founder: Jason Ridgel
- Location: Nashville, TN
- Price: $49.99+ (depending on location)
Inspired by whiskey culture and motivated by a deep concept of family and friendship, Jason Ridgel founded Guidance Whiskey in October of 2018. For Ridgel and his team, the word ‘Guidance’ just made sense. It represents all those that came before and those that helped along the way. Aged for 2 years, this premium adult beverage was introduced, distilled in Iowa in a small batch and housed in Nashville, TN. As an American whiskey careful blend of corn and rye with a touch of malted barley, it accomplishes a smooth intense finish. You can’t miss the burnt caramel from smoked barrels that lead to the Moschino cherry and/or vanilla essence based on your palette. Guidance is a young whiskey that is rare and perfect for the novice & the aficionados.
- Founder: Chris & Shanelle Montana
- Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Price: Varies
In 2013, attorney and Minneapolis native Chris Montana founded Du Nord Craft Spirits with his wife, Shanelle,. He is the CEO and head distiller. and he now serves as not only the founder, but also the CEO and head distiller. The goal was to start a family business that would bring together Shanelle Montana’s rural upbringing on a Cold Spring, MN farm and Chris’ experience growing up in Minneapolis. The result is Du Nord Craft Spirits, a scrappy distillery born of rural practicality and city vibe. Since 2013 they’ve grown from their humble beginnings to offer several expressions ( Vodka, Gin, Whiskey, Apple and Coffee Liqueurs). Du Nord is committed to diversifying the craft alcohol community and actively recruits the underrepresented communities of women and racial minorities to join the Du Nord family. You can currently find their products across hundreds of locations in Minnesota.
- Founder: Sean Hallman
- Location: Oceanside, California
- Price: $25-$30
Shadow Ridge Spirits Company is owned by Sean Hallman, an African American and a veteran of the United States Navy. Shadow Ridge Spirits Company specializes in premium small-batch, hand-crafted spirits. and include bourbon, rye, peated single malt, American single malt, barrel aged and silver rums. They are currently developing their first gin as well. Though they are located in California, in addition to finding them locally they do offer an online shop as well.
5. Bleu Vodka
- Founder: Alizbeth Jetter
- Location: Iowa
- Price: Varies
Bleu Vodka is a 100% all natural, gluten free infused vodka based line of liqueurs that’s been in business since 2016. It’s founder, Mrs. Jetter is CEO & Co-Founder of VBJ Beverages, the makers of Brand BLEU. They currently offer a blueberry and citrus expression. You can currently find them in retailers throughout Illinois and Iowa.
- Founder: Yarbrough Brothers
- Location: Louisville, Kentucky
- Price: $29.99 (Varies by location)
Like the name suggests, Brough Brothers Whiskey is the brainchild of three siblings, Victor, Chris, and Bryce Yarbrough out of Kentucky. Coming from humble beginnings on the West end of Louisville, and inspired by their travels, they returned home to create a product/brand that would make a positive and lasting impact on both their local and global communities. The bottle itself features the three brothers faces as well as the lovely skyline of the city they call home.
- Founder: Victor George Harvey
- Location: Fort Lauderdale
- Price: $19.99
VG Vodka is the creation of Victor George Harvey, a spirits industry veteran, and an accomplished entrepreneur. Although they are a vodka brand currently, they have plans to expand into the other spirits categories such as whiskey, gin, tequila, and specialty liqueurs. Recently VG was blessed to be selected to create a signature cocktail for the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council. The brand made some big waves earlier this year when it was announced that American Rapper FLO RIDA joined the company as an equity partner to help build a 13,000 square foot distillery in Fort Lauderdale. You can currently find VG vodka in Florida and Georgia retail and bars.
- Founder: Vanessa Braxton
- Location: New York
- Price: $33.99
Black Momma Vodka was developed and created by Vanessa Braxton, the first African American woman owner and operator of a Nationally Distributed Vodka in the United States. She’s originally from Brooklyn and has a background in construction and engineering. Black Momma Vodka is a Superior Vodka . It’s Flagship Vodka is 80 proof. It’s Distilled 5 times and Filtered 5 times from corn for its signature smooth taste. It’s distilled through Crushed Diamond Lava Rocks and fused with Cascade Mountain Spring Water from Oregon
- Founder: Amber and Bruce Steele
- Location: Houston, TX
Timeless Vodka is an award winning brand newer on the scene from an energetic entrepreneurial couple out of Houston. It’s produced using fresh mineral-rich water and is distilled 4 times. They use a unique carbon filtration process to smooth out their brand and remove an impurities. Of course it’s gluten free and works in just about any type of cocktail and for any occasion. For Information on where to buy, visit their website at www.Timelessvodka.com
So there you have it, we tried to find something for everyone. As an African American blogging couple ourselves we wanted to continue to show support towards Black owned liquor brands that we love as well as one’s we have not tried and want to. In addition to these 9 brands, you can check out these 13 Black Owned Drinks Businesses as well that covers beer, wine, and a even tea! If you have the opportunity, give these brands a try and see what you think! We’ll be looking to add more to this list in the future, if you know or love a brand, feel free to send us an email at [email protected] OR drop a link in the comments below.