Constellation Brands, Inc. tells BourbonBlog.com it has acquired a minority stake in Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, which produces Belle Meade Bourbon, Belle Meade Bourbon Sherry Cask Finish, and Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee White Whiskey brand. Based in Nashville, 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 beverage alcohol.
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 the well-known Chicago mixologist, Charles Joly.
“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 (pictured below with his brother Andy Nelson), CEO of Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery tells us. “With the support and business acumen of Constellation Ventures, we are eager to progress to the next level in re-our family business while building a strong portfolio of whiskies.”
“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, Constellation Brands. “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 U.S. before a statewide Prohibition closed the distillery’s doors in 1909.
Charles’ great-great-great grandsons, Andy and Charlie Nelson, reopened the distillery in 2014, using the original family recipe for their Tennessee whiskey.
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