American Whiskey had its biggest award night yesterday at the World Whiskies Awards in New York. Some of the industry's brightest stars packed the Flatiron Room in Manhattan as awards were handed out in categories from Best Rye to Best Blended Malt, and everything in between. After its surprise World's Best Tennessee Whiskey win at last year's awards for its Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey, the Nearest Green Distillery returned this year and picked up the same prize for its Uncle Nearest 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey. The coveted Brand Ambassador of the Year award went to whiskey educator and industry veteran Adina "Sailor" Guevara, regional ambassador for Uncle Nearest. The brand was the only one to receive two nominations in this category, with another industry veteran, Richie Michaels, receiving the second nod for the company.
Winning World's Best Tennessee Whiskey continued a trend for the family-owned Nearest Green Distillery. Earlier this year, it was announced that the company spent 2019 quietly racking up 50 top awards in spirit competitions and industry publications around the globe, including 10 Best in Class and Best in Show awards, and 25 Platinum, Double Gold and Gold medals. Jim Murray's Whisky Bible rated the brand's 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey a 94.5, the highest score for a Tennessee Whiskey or Bourbon. Murray was joined by the more than 10 other industry leaders who rated Uncle Nearest's three labels between 90-96, with an overall industry-wide rating of 92.6.
"Our team works from before sunrise to well after sunset every day sharing the legacy of our namesake, Nearest Green, the first-known African-American master distiller," said Kate Jerkens, Senior Vice President of Sales for Uncle Nearest. "We are incredibly proud of the work we are doing in this industry and could not be more honored that the World Whiskies Awards bestowed this honor upon us not once, but two times in a row."
Other winners of the night included:
World Best Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon – Kentucky Peerless Distillery
World's Best Bourbon - Ironroot Republic Harbinger
Best American Blended - FEW Spirits American Straight Whiskey
Best American Blended Malt - Virginia-Highland Whisky Port Cask Finished
Best American Grain - Bainbridge Yama Mizunara Cask
Best American Rye - Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Best American Single Cask Single Malt - Westland Distillery Cask #3204
Best American Single Malt - The Notch Nantucket Single Malt 15 Years Old
Best American Wheat - Bainbridge Two Islands Hokkaido Cask