At Flaviar we believe we have a responsibility not just towards our Members, but to our Spirits community. We hope to effect meaningful change in ourselves and our communities. We have a responsibility to take action. To move forward consciously, pro-actively, but most importantly, we believe that the fundamental key to change lies within, on an individual level. It starts with you and me.
We stand in solidarity with our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters young and old whose livelihoods are plagued by an unjust establishment. Systemic racism and the injustices towards our Black community is not an issue we take lightly and fighting these complex issues requires meticulous action.
First and foremost we are actively taking steps to educate ourselves internally, as intensively we can as a company, so that we can use our platform to work towards a better future and society. We are committed to understanding the incredibly complex issues that affect the livelihoods of so many people. Among other projects, we are educating ourselves internally on racism, inclusivity and diversity as we want to make sure we understand this better to be able to act both as individuals and a company.
Support Black-owned businessesActivism takes many forms, and at Flaviar we want to use our platform where we can make the most influence - in the Spirits industry. We are devoted to elevating black voices and brands, and highlighting incredible stories that have been glossed over in history. The issues of racial stereotypes and biases, the lack of diversity and inequality that exists in the Spirits industry must be addressed.
We want to start by putting a spotlight on distilleries owned by people of color. We stand by the men and women that defied the odds, bucked the system and boldly innovated in a way that continues to change a centuries-old industry dominated by white men. We not only support them — we celebrate them.
From American Whiskeys to Caribbean Rums and award-winning Vodkas, these amazing American brands owned and founded by Black men and women are unequivocally worthy of a spot on your Top Shelf. Behind every great bottle, is an incredible story with individuals who are every bit as extraordinary as their brand:
Du Nord DistilleryIn 2013, Chris Montana started his family business with his partner Shanelle. He became the first Black person to own a microdistillery in the entire United States, also becoming the first Person of Color to serve as president of the American Craft Spirits Association for two consecutive years before eventually stepping down. This pioneering micro distillery specializes in Whiskey, Vodka, Liqueurs, and artisan Gins. Today, Du Nord is an award-winning business that prides itself on sustainable practices and connecting local Spirit lovers with the craft. Du Nord Spirits are each made with non-GMO corn from the Evens’ farm, their L'etoile Vodka and Fitzgerald Gin bringing home gold medals.
Big advocates of diversity in the craft community, Du Nord actively recruits the underrepresented communities of women and racial minorities to join the Du Nord family. Du Nord, situated in South Minneapolis less than half a mile from Minneapolis’ 3rd Precinct, found themselves at the epicenter of the recent conflicts and was severely damaged during the Minneapolis riots.
Their response was nothing short of remarkable. Montana and his team showed up, with resilience and compassion, transforming the distillery into a community donation center raising over $200,000 for local businesses affected by the riots, and starting their own fund to rebuild their distillery…you can offer your support and donate to the Du Nord Riot Recovery Fund here.
HH Bespoke SpiritsThis Spirits brand is the brainchild of a legendary family of culture creators. The retail extension of 5001 Flavors, a bespoke apparel company creating looks for celebrities, recording artists and sports stars for over 20 years, HH Bespoke Spirits was launched in Fall 2018, drawing inspiration from the rich cultural history and distinctive style of the Harlem Renaissance.
The result is a curated collection of definitive expression of Spirits proudly distilled and distributed by AstraLuna Brands of Medfield, MA. Their delicious Harlem Haberdashery Bespoke Gin is a remix on a traditional London Dry style Gin, with moderate juniper flavors up front, which are balanced by an infusion of lavender, rose hip and plum.
Ten To One RumBorn in Trinidad, Marc Farrell left his Carribean home to study chemical engineering at MIT…at the ripe age of 16. He then went on to get a Masters in Philosophy from Cambridge and an MBA from none other than Harvard School of Business. At the age of thirty-three he became the youngest VP in Starbucks history. Now he is stepping out on his newest venture: creating a contemporary, elevated Rum experience.
Launched in 2019, Ten To One Rum is a tribute to his native roots. Designed for premium cocktails Ten To One White Rum is a compelling blend of column still Rum from the Dominican Republic and high ester pot still Rum from Jamaica. The result is a beautiful 90 proof Spirit.
Ten To One Dark Rum is a deeply complex blend of premium Rums from across the Caribbean — eight year-old column still Rums from Barbados and the Dominican Republic, pot still Rum from Jamaica, and Trinidad Rum. The resultant blend is further aged in ex-Bourbon casks.
Uncle NearestIn 2016 a woman named Fawn Weaver set out to bring to light the legendary story of the greatest Whiskey maker the world never knew: the first-known African-American master distiller Nathan “Nearest” Green. The rest was quite literally history.
Nathan Green (his family and friends called him Uncle Nearest) was born into slavery, working on Reverend Call’s farm (and operating a Whiskey still in his free time). Nearest is credited for perfecting the Lincoln County Process – a process that literally defines Tennessee Whiskey, and originated in West Africa. In the 1850s, he began working with an orphan boy named Jack Daniel (yes, THE Jack) and taught him how to make Whiskey.
Green was eventually hired as the first-ever master distiller for Jack Daniel's Distillery. But the Jack Daniel’s brand never officially acknowledged Nearest’s role until 2016, when Fawn Weaver intervened. Since then she has kept his legacy alive through Whiskey. Uncle Nearest Whiskey was founded in 2017 by Weaver and has earned over 40 awards and accolades, including an incredible “World’s Best” at the 2020 World Whiskies Awards. Read more about Green’s story and Uncle Nearest Whiskey here (and learn more about the Jack Daniel's and Uncle Nearest Advancement Initiative).
Loft & BearLoft & Bear Vodka was founded by Paul Ryan Elliot in 2014, in a loft in downtown LA...hence the name: Loft & Bear.
Their gold standard approach to sustainability is a modern marvel. They quadruple distill their Vodka exclusively in downtown Los Angeles from Soft Organic Winter Wheat, which is planted in the fall and harvested mid-summer, and slightly alkaline 100% pure California mountain spring water. Loft & Bear Vodka has earned countless accolades for its citrus-forward character. 94 points “Outstanding” from the Tasting Panel.
This special Whiskey was inspired by a tasty family tradition. Rams & Parrots was founded in the heart of Baltimore by three childhood friends Rod, Regg and Will. Friends for over 3 decades they decided to create a Whiskey as an homage to an old family recipe “Holy Water” which was enjoyed by Rod’s family for years, served as a special drink, called “Dot Dot’s Punch.”
Rams & Parrots
With the help of Jon, a master distiller, the group created their signature recipe, Ram’s & Parrots American Whiskey: a premium small batch Bourbon. The idea for the name Ram’s & Parrots is one of poetic symbolism. The African Grey Parrot, is often recognized as one of the smartest animals in the world. And the Ram throughout history has represented determination, strength and leadership.
Shadow RidgeShadow Ridge Spirit Distillery, is a Veteran-Owned private label specializing in small batch grain to glass, small-batch, hand crafted Spirits distilled from premium ingredients. Shadow Ridge Whiskeys are 100 percent aged in American White Oak barrels.
Their line currently includes Bourbon, Rye, a Peated Single Malt, and an American Single Malt, featuring unique, specialty grain bills, aged in charred oak barrels to enhance the vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon flavors. Their special small-batch distilling methods highlight the various grain and yeast flavor profiles, adding a depth of complexity to Shadow Ridge Whiskeys.
Greenwood WhiskeyGreenwood Whiskey is a premium Rye Whiskey that symbolizes a celebration of community, success, entrepreneurship, & excellence.
This African American owned brand is inspired by the Historic Greenwood District neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma – also known as, “Black Wall Street” a community home to hundreds of African-American owned businesses. The Historic Greenwood District was the largest concentration in the US during a time when African Americans had so few rights or resources.
Greenwood Whiskey is a celebration of “Black Wall Street” and the legacy of visionary entrepreneurs, combining natural ingredients and bold flavors. Russet color, with rich smoky caramel and vanilla notes. The palate features hints of butterscotch, sweet cherry wood, and a touch of citrus enhance its smooth taste. Their unique Whiskey is a premium rye blend is bottled at 42% ABV.
St Cloud BourbonCrafted by Ray Walker, Saint Cloud Kentucky Bourbons are produced traditionally using a hybrid pot-column still and bottled at cask strength, unfiltered and produced on a “micro-scale,” using proprietary ingredients and aged in new French Limousin oak.
With Walker’s previous Wine-making experience he’s brought his craft and tradition to the Whiskey scene, bringing a unique vision to the world of Kentucky Bourbons. Saint Cloud is a passion project bridging the connection to Ray’s family which has roots that date all the way back to Kentucky in the early nineteenth-century.
18th StreetThis award winning artisan distillery in Northwest Indiana was founded by Drew Fox. 18th Street Distillery first opened their doors on June 8, 2018. They take an unhurried traditional approach to the production of each Spirit, using only the highest quality ingredients, to make the finest products.
They source Beer product (2 row and 6 row barley) from 18th Street’s sister brewery to distill their high quality Spirit. The same rye used for brewing and distilling is also used to produce their current line of award winning Spirits including their flavorful Rye Whiskey, Gin, Rum distilled from sugarcane and blackstrap molasses, the bold Bourbon, Vodka and their distinctive Moonshine distilled from corn, rye and malted Barley.
Revel SpiritsFounded by Micah McFarlane in 2012, Revel Spirits has been handcrafting super-premium expressions from 100% Pure Agave grown in mineral-rich soil. Their hand-picked agave results in truly unique ultra-premium, ultra-smooth Tequilas.
The Impact of the Black Community on the Spirits IndustryThe Black community has had a tremendous impact on the Spirits industry and their stories must be addressed, shared, and amplified. From the untold stories of Uncle Nearest, or the Harlem Whiskey Riots, to the sinister history of slavery in the Rum industry. African Americans have long been a critical piece in Spirits industry from the very start, building rickhouses, harvesting sugar cane, creating Whiskeys, playing many crucial parts but not given leadership roles.
Below are a few more resources to learn about the biases that exist in the Spirits industry, and organizations that are working to dismantle those constructs, and affect meaningful, lasting change.
Listen. Learn. Take Action.
Reclaiming Bourbon’s African American Heritage: In this article, associate professor and activist Dr. Erin Wiggins Gilliam from Kentucky State University, addresses how protests taking place around the world have forced businesses to address systemic racism. And how In the case of Bourbon, its historic ties to the slave trade have only recently been scrutinized in greater detail.
Black Bourbon Society:
Found by Whiskey expert Samara Rivers, Black Bourbon Society bridges the gap between the Spirits industry and African American Bourbon enthusiasts challenging traditional marketing standards by curating experiences that genuinely engage the Black community, fostering diversity and inclusion within the Spirits industry through speaking engagements, consulting and their Diversity Distilled foundation.