August is designated as Black Business Month. Although we root for everyone Black 24/7/365, it is a time for the nation to rally behind the hardworking men and women, and amplify their brands and businesses in a greater way. Of course, there are thousands of Black businesses out there making waves (we see you!) but EBONY wanted to do their part to show love to some of the Black-owned whiskey brands on the market right now.
As a Black spirit brand owner, the journey is not easy. On top of being among a very small subset of the larger pool, they also face a plethora of hurdles and adversities, including: discrimination, access to capital, or the simple act of getting larger distributors to pick them up. Yet, like the ancestors, they still persevere and overcome each and every barrier they face. After all, we've always been resilient people.
From the most successful Black-owned brand in the world—created by a woman—to a man who continues to run a thriving brand despite being paralyzed, EBONY has rounded-up a few of the Black-owned whiskey brands that you should add to your radar this Black Business Month and beyond.
Eric LeGrand Bourbon
Launched in March 2023, the brand was founded by Eric LeGrand and is his first entry into the spirits business. Within months of its debut, Eric LeGrand Bourbon made history in July when it became the first spirits brand to become a proud partner of Rutgers Athletics. Through his ongoing rehabilitation journey after being paralyzed, LeGrand has been inspired to appreciate the finer things in life and created a bourbon that everyone can enjoy.
Founded by its CEO Fawn Weaver in 2017, Uncle Nearest is the best-selling Black American-founded, owned, and led spirit brand in U.S. history. Its recently expanded 323-acre distillery has already welcomed more than 100,000 guests, with that number increasing significantly every week.
Duke & Dame
Recognized by esteemed industry experts as one of the best flavored whiskeys on earth, Duke & Dame was co-founded by Amani Macaulay and Chima Burey to redefine the category. Both left their finance careers to jumpstart their spirits brand, with the mission of creating a whiskey for everyone to enjoy.
For Alabama native Jason Ridgel, the goal is to only drink Black-owned spirits. Not only has the Tennessee State University graduate turned serial entrepreneur created his own whiskey brand, Guidance Whiskey, he is also making it his mission to provide the resources needed for aspiring Black spirit makers to get their brands off the ground.
Produced in Charleston, South Carolina, this brand is a unique premium whiskey that epitomizes flavor, flair and fun. Crafted in small batches and focused on great taste, Frisky takes an unparalleled approach to favored whiskey. The formula uses pure caramel and natural vanilla to accentuate and enhance these naturally occurring whiskey notes.
Mercer + Prince
Launched by rapper A$AP Rocky in March 2022, the brand set out to redefine the spirits industry through the lens of its founder by intersecting art and culture into his first liquor brand. Mercer + Prince is a Canadian Whiskey twice distilled, aged a minimum of 4 years in ex-American white oak barrels, and influenced by rare Japanese Mizunara Oak. The Japanese Mizunara Oak influence results in a distinct taste profile with hints of baked apple and cinnamon that is extra smooth and more robust than other leading whiskey brands.
Steph Curry recently unveiled his new Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Gentleman's Cut. The 90 proof spirit, distilled in 500-gallon copper pot stills and then aged for 5 to 7 years in charred new white oak barrels, is near and dear to the point guard's heart, as he is said to have been involved in every aspect of its creation.
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