Congratulations to The Brand Guild, who was named PR Agency of the Year by Whisky Magazine for their work with Uncle Nearest (which you can pick up at Georgetown’s Potomac Wine & Spirits).
Founded and led by Fawn Weaver, the first African-American woman to lead a major American spirit brand, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is inspired by the first African-American master distiller on record, Nearest Green, a formerly enslaved man who is now known to have taught a young Jack Daniel how to make his famous spirit and was also Jack Daniel’s first master distiller. The Brand Guild has helped grow Uncle Nearest into the fastest-growing independent American whiskey brand in U.S. history with an average of 280 million media impressions per month.
The Brand Guild has simultaneously worked to elevate the profiles of both Weaver and the descendants of Nearest Green himself: His great-great-granddaughter Victoria Eady Butler is Uncle Nearest’s master blender, and was also named a 2021 Icon of Whisky in the distiller category. Coverage for Uncle Nearest to date has included exclusives and features in Forbes, Garden & Gun, Martha Stewart, Esquire, The Today Show, and Oprah’s Favorite Things 2020.
In addition to the Uncle Nearest campaign, the Georgetown-based public relations, marketing, events and creative agency was also recently named to PRNEWS Agency’s Elite Top 100 PR Firms, and received honorable mention from Ragan’s PR Daily for their marketing campaign with Yoobi. BizBash also recently crowned them with the 2020 BizBash Event Style Award for Best Virtual Fair/Festival for Books in Bloom at Merriweather.
Despite their success, Brand Guild Co-Founder Jayne Sandman says working during the pandemic was not without its challenges – forcing her team to recalibrate.
“We have three key practice areas: Lifestyle brands, real estate, and F&B and hospitality. The latter was by far the most affected by the pandemic. While the hotel and restaurant industries saw sharp decreases, we were able to grow by putting our team’s passion and interest to work in spirits. That drove us to seek out more pandemic-proof companies in the sector where we could put our team’s passion and expertise to work. Liquor has always been a (professional!) interest of ours, and during the pandemic we actually launched a full beverages team that spans PR and marketing.”
The Brand Guild has also focused on building up their work with consumer packaged goods, which have soared mid-pandemic, and landed several new clients.
“We anxiously await the return of indoor dining and travel, but our love for spirits and food brands is here to stay!”
To learn more about Jayne and her fellow Co-Founder Barbara Martin, whose agency was born over a decade ago after the two met at a charity event, check out our 2019 byGeorge feature on the women behind The Brand Guild.