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The Louisa Nelson Awards

The remarkable three years since opening Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery has been an unbelievable and exhilarating ride. We created the Louisa Nelson Awards as an annual accolade honoring women of achievement, inspiration, and vision in Nashville who show exemplary successes in their field and leadership in the community. The third annual Louisa Nelson Awards ceremony is scheduled for September 17, 2018.

"Many know the story of our great-great-great grandfather, Charles Nelson -- the pioneering founder of Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery and the leading producer of Tennessee Whiskey in America in the late 1800s," says Charlie Nelson, "but few know about Louisa, his devoted and hard working wife who assumed control of the family business after his death in 1891, until Prohibition forced her to shutter it in 1909. At the time, she was one of the only women ever to have run a commercial distillery. In addition being a powerful business owner, Louisa Nelson displayed enlightened leadership that benefited the entire community. Today, her foundation and business model remains a driving force in our own practices, and we named the big copper still that anchors our production floor 'Miss Louisa,' in her honor."

To commemorate Louisa's role in the brand's history, the Louisa Nelson Awards are given to three Nashville-area business women who embody the characteristics of their ancestor: hard working women excelling in their industries and making a positive impact in their community. To celebrate each award recipient, Nelson's Green Brier Distillery will make a significant donation to a local charity of her choosing.


Nominations are now closed.

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2017 award recipients

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TATIA ROSE: As owner of Nashville Music Academy, Tatia Rose also serves as the primary piano instructor, whose teaching style reflects her classical training, Bachelor’s in Music from West Virginia University, and over 10 years of teaching experience. Rose has also developed a unique Special Needs Music Program, mostly due in part to her advocacy work with Autism Speaks. In addition to her duties as President and owner of the business, she is also an active member of the National Recording Academy, avid supporter of Autism Speaks, and a published songwriter (The Seam 2011/2012).

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KENETHA CARR:  A former metro school teacher who reestablished the theater program at McGavock High School, Kenetha Carr is Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of The Infinity Fellowship Interfaith Gathering. Kenetha's strong reputation as an actor, director, and Executive Director of the Amun Ra Theatre's Youth Performing ARTs Academy has contributed to her shining example and the result of 100% college attendance in student graduates from her programming. 

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BEVERLY BYRAM: Bev Byram has been a nurse practitioner treating patients with HIV/AIDS at Vanderbilt's Comprehensive Care Center since 1994. She has been both champion and servant to the positive, gay and immigrant communities in Nashville starting from a time when all were mostly shunned, misunderstood, and/or disenfranchised in our city. She initiated and continues to manage a program at the CCC which specializes in treatment for HIV positive mothers. Her efforts in this area have produced transfer rates so low that she and the clinic have garnered global attention.

2018 Advisory COMMITTEE

  • Business journalist turned food writer, Carrington Fox has followed restaurants, food security, and sustainability for Nashville Scene, Southern Living, Food Network, Culture, NFocus, Creative Loafing, Esquire.com, and The Tennessean.
  • Nelson's Green Brier Distillery Co-Proprietor Andy Nelson, a direct descendant of Louisa Nelson, and the head distiller of the family business he has revived with his younger brother, Charlie.

  • Nelson's Green Brier Distillery Co-Proprietor Charlie Nelson, also a great-great-great-grandson of Louisa Nelson, and namesake of Charles Nelson, who travels the country sharing the history and spirits of the company he has proudly reestablished with his brother Andy.
  • Civic and social advocate Renata Soto, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Conexión Américas, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Latino families realize their aspirations for social and economic advancement by promoting their integration into the Middle Tennessee community.
  • Shan Foster, Sr. Director of External Affairs & AMEND at YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee. AMEND is an initiative that engages men and boys to end violence against women and girls. He now recruits, educates and equips men and boys to serve as advocates for violence prevention and cultural change. Described as an enthusiastic leader, gifted public speaker, and skilled facilitator, Foster is committed to elevating the conversation about violence against women, engaging men to be leaders and role models, and educating young men and boys about healthy masculinity and respect.
  • Award-winning vocalist, instrumentalist / recording artist Kristina Train
  • 2016 Award recipient Vali Forrister, powerful women's rights advocate; Co-founder/Artistic Director of Actors Bridge Ensemble and Founder of Act Like a GRRRL.