Brothers revive great-great-great-grandfather's whiskey business - WKRN News 2

Nashville brothers revive great-great-great-grandfather's whiskey business

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GREENBRIER, Tenn. -

Two Nashville brothers discovered their destiny in a warehouse in Greenbrier, the site of their great-great-great-grandfather's distillery.

After the success of their first product, Belle Meade Bourbon, Andy and Charlie Nelson have set their sights even higher.

The brothers grew up hearing stories of Charles Nelson and how he emigrated with his parents and siblings from Germany in 1850.

During the journey, forceful winds threw his father overboard. The family fortune was sewed in his clothing and Charles found himself the household at just 15 years old.

Nelson moved to Nashville before the Civil War and began a grocery business.

The Green Brier Distillery was a side business, but by no means a small operation.

In its heyday, Green Brier out-produced Jack Daniel's 20 to one.

In 1909, prohibition forced the distillery to shut its doors.

It likely would have remained closed if it weren't for Andy and Charlie, who stumbled upon two original bottles at the Greenbrier Historical Society.

"We knew right then and there this is what we're here to do," Andy Nelson recalled.

They ignored the advice of others who cautioned doing business with family.

"We just complement each other really well and know each other really well... It works well for us.  It's really fun and I've loved every moment of it," continued Andy, who is 16 months older than Charlie.

The brothers officially re-launched the brand in 2009, exactly 100 years after the distillery closed.

This year, they are working on their signature Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey, made with Charles Nelson's original recipe.

"The heritage of the company influences every decision that we make, every product that we put out," Andy continued.

They are also moving into a new space in Marathon Village, complete with a tasting room, visitor's center and retail space.

Even as they grow, they're committed to keeping their ultimate goal in perspective.

"I really hope that he would be proud of us and that's as much as we can ask for," Andy said.  "We just hope we can someday be legitimately compared to him with what we've done, that's the most that we can do."

Read more about the Green Brier Distillery at GreenBrierDistillery.com.

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