The Brand Guild, the full-service strategic communications agency, was named PR Agency of the Year in Whisky Magazine’s 2021 Icons of Whisky America awards. The Icons of Whisky awards celebrate the industry’s best and brightest people, places and products. The Brand Guild was recognized for its work with Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, the fastest-growing independent American whiskey brand in U.S. history.
The award comes as The Brand Guild doubles down on integrated services for spirits brands in 2021, growing its F&B team helmed by Senior Vice President of Public Relations Amy Clark, who brings more than two decades of experience guiding communications for brands like Jameson, Beefeater, and The Glenlivet; and Senior Vice President of Marketing Vanessa Rodriguez, formerly Grey Advertising and &pizza. Since hiring Rodriguez in September, the agency has grown its offerings in major brand campaigns across platforms that work in tandem with national public relations efforts for top F&B clients.
The Brand Guild’s F&B team collectively has experience leading communications for top spirits brands including Ketel One, Midori, Kim Crawford Wines, Booker’s Bourbon, Canadian Club Whisky, EFFEN Vodka, and Laphroaig. In the past quarter, The Brand Guild has added online grocer Imperfect Foods, organic baby food brand Yumi, and plant-based snacks brand Eat the Change (cofounded by Honest Tea’s Seth Goldman and celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn) to its F&B portfolio that already includes Sweetgreen and Uncle Nearest. Senior Public Relations Director Giselle-Marie Roig has led growth-focused press strategies for the agency’s F&B clients alongside Senior Manager Jessica Davis and Coordinator Kelly Hughes.
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.
“At The Brand Guild, we’re obsessed with brands who are moving their industries forward — like Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey and its fearless leader Fawn Weaver,” said Co-founder and Co-CEO of The Brand Guild Jayne Sandman. “We only work for brands that we truly believe in, and we are equally honored to share in this recognition with the entire Uncle Nearest family, who works tirelessly to promote much-needed diversity and inclusion in the world of whiskey.”