Andy Nelson

Entrepreneur

Nashville

Andy Nelson and his brother Charlie are proprietors of the original Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery in Tennessee, created by their great-great-grandfather Charles Nelson prior to Prohibition. After a trip to Greenbrier, Tenn., to see the original barrel warehouse and springs, the brothers decided to revive the defunct family whiskey company — which produced one of the largest and most popular brands of whiskey in the country during its heyday; it sold about 20 times more than Jack Daniel’s. Ever since that trip, the two have researched, planned and built the team for Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey. They began small, using a contract distillery to release their Belle Meade Bourbon in April of 2012. In 2013, they built their own distillery just north of Nashville. 

  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    Where are Andy Nelson’s favorite places to hear live music in Nashville?

    Robert’s [Western World] is one of my favorite places. There’s nothing pretentious about it. It’s very laid-back, loud, crazy and crowded. It’s one of a kind. Also Springwater [Supper Club & Lounge] — I’m sure there will be plenty of people who’ll make fun of me for this but it’s just that hole-in-the-wall rock ’n’ roll place that doesn’t even serve liquor, just beer. It’s a lot fun. You can act like you don’t have to have any manners. I love places like that — the divey places. The Ryman [Auditorium] is pretty standard. You can’t come to Nashville to see live music without going to the Ryman. I’ve been to Mercy Lounge/The Cannery Ballroom/The High Watt so many times. That’s one of the great places around town.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    What are Andy Nelson’s favorite restaurants in Nashville?

    I love The Yellow Porch. It’s very good, and that’s been around for a while, sort of a Nashville staple these days. Germantown Café is really good, too.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    What are Andy Nelson’s favorite Italian restaurants in Nashville?

    I love Italian food. One place that’s really cool is Mangia. It’s open only on Friday and Saturday nights. During the day and the week it’s called Cool Cafe but during the weekend it turns into this Italian shindig. They serve dishes family style and at dinner they get everybody up to dance, and the owner sings. It’s really cool and just an awesome party atmosphere.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    What are Andy Nelson’s favorite places for brunch in Nashville?

    Marché Artisan Foods in Five Points — it’s on everybody’s list because it’s just kind of that place. No. 308 is also really cool. I just like the eccentric, weird vibe of that place. And I recently went to The Stone Fox, which is a cool spot with a good vibe and atmosphere.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    What is Andy Nelson’s favorite time of the year in Nashville?

    Spring or fall certainly are the best times to visit. It’s cold enough in the winter that it can be tough to deal with Broadway and downtown. The summer is a little hot, but that can really add some grit to the honky-tonks. But I think spring or fall because the weather’s nice and if you’re taking a drive out in the country, there’s a lot more beauty to appreciate. You can be outside with shorts and a T-shirt on and be just fine.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    What are Andy Nelson’s favorite things to do in Nashville?

    1. You have experience the honky-tonks on Broadway.
    2. Go to a Nashville Predators game. I never thought Nashville would be a big hockey town but people love it. Nashville always supports its own and hockey is really fun to watch.
    3. Sitting down or standing on a corner of Broadway and people watching is really awesome. It’s fascinating to see all the different kinds of people, styles — or lack of style. I just love seeing it all.
    4. Take a drive out into the country away from downtown. Nashville is a big city but it has a small-town vibe, so it’s not far from the country.
    5. And then I’d say visit Belcourt Theatre. It’s one of the really great gems of Nashville that you may not know of if you’re a tourist. Belcourt is a really cool, old independent theater.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    What are Andy Nelson’s favorite spirits?

    I don’t drink a whole lot of tequila but I do like it. I’m one of the few people that I know who can sip on a glass of tequila by itself. And I like rums, too. I think rums are somewhat like whiskeys now. There are some small batch rums that are very cool. Some of them are pretty similar to whiskeys and I can appreciate that and sip them neat, too.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    Is there a cocktail trend that Andy Nelson would like to see die?

    Flavored vodka — I think that it’s pretty unanimous, at least in the whiskey world. I just prefer the complexity of the spirit itself rather than adding certain flavors. Flavored whiskeys, too, are not my thing. I like my whiskey neat and my coffee black.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    What are Andy Nelson’s favorite latest cocktail trends in Nashville?

    I think it’s cool that there is a cocktail trend going on anywhere, and in Nashville in particular, because people are paying a lot more attention to their spirits. For a long time there was a huge boom in vodka and now it’s of course everywhere, but people are getting much more into mature spirits, bourbons and whiskeys, which I think is pretty exciting. There’s a lot of complexity and a lot of history and cool stuff to know and learn about it. I know that rye is getting really popular and for so long it was seen as rotgut. Rye, the grain, presents itself in whiskey as hot and spicy and tough to drink, which is true. But for whatever reason it mixes very well in cocktails and people are really appreciating that. They don’t want vodka because it loses itself and all you taste is the mix. Rye you can still taste and appreciate the base spirit in the cocktail, but then also how it mingles with the other elements in that drink.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    What are Andy Nelson’s favorite cocktails?

    My favorites are the Bloody Mary, a bourbon version of the Moscow Mule — I love ginger in anything — and an Old Fashioned. The Patterson House [in Nashville] is the first place I had a bacon Old Fashioned and that was just pretty incredible. I tend to prefer bourbon or whiskey cocktails.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    What is the best trip Andy Nelson has ever taken?

    My semester abroad if you can count that as one trip — I really liked experiencing multiple new cultures and languages and architecture. You go to a restaurant and you take your time — they don’t constantly give you attention like, ‘Are you ready to go yet? Let’s get your check.’ In fact, being in a group of Americans, we’d be like, ‘God let’s hurry, why are they taking so long?’ Well, it’s just not the way life goes there. They prefer to take it easy and relax and enjoy that time.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    What are Andy Nelson’s favorite shops to visit when traveling?

    By my trade, I certainly like restaurants, bars and liquor stores. I’m pretty impressed with a lot of these cool specialty liquor stores. Obviously you have your big box places that may have one whiskey guy who may not know that much. But then there are plenty of places that only hire people who know exactly what they’re talking about and who have a real passion for it. That’s really cool and I really appreciate that.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    What does Andy Nelson always travel with?

    Maybe a book or some music, although I prefer to travel light. When I’m going to experience new places and things, I like to soak it all in. I’m not someone who would wear headphones walking down the street. I’d rather soak in the sounds and the whole experience of wherever I am.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    Who is Andy Nelson’s favorite traveling companion?

    I have traveled with my brother Charlie more often than I traveled with anybody else just based on the fact that we’re business partners and we’re going to do the same thing. But I really like traveling alone. I’m much more of an introvert than an extrovert. I’m totally fine just being by myself with my own thoughts. I think I’m one of those rare people that doesn’t let travel stress me out. I can totally relax. If my plane is late, there’s nothing I can do about it, so I might as well enjoy it and get where I can when I can.
  • On March 29, 2013
    Andy Nelson answered the question: Andy Nelson

    What are Andy Nelson’s favorite restaurants?

    The one that pops out in my mind is Empire State South in Atlanta. I am kind of obsessed with that place. Just everything about it is so cool. And it’s sort of endeared itself to me. The last time we were there in Atlanta, Charlie and I were going to do some tasting events and sales calls, and everything was so delicious and original and comforting. I just felt like a million bucks after leaving there. Another place in Atlanta is Holeman & Finch. I really want to try that cheeseburger. And in Baltimore, Thames Street Oyster House is very good.