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  • Writer's pictureThe Lynchburg Times

Byron Copeland graduates from the Nearest & Jack Leadership Acceleration Program


LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — It’s a partnership created by two distilleries with deep Lynchburg ties. On Wednesday, the Jack Daniel Distillery and the Nearest Green Distillery announced Byron Copeland’s graduation from the Leadership Acceleration Program, a comprehensive whiskey industry apprenticeship program that’s part of the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative. Copeland has been named Manager of Leadership Acceleration and Maturation Innovation at the Jack Daniel Distillery.


Launched by the Jack Daniel Distillery and the Nearest Green Distillery in 2020, The Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative aims to advance diversity within the American whiskey industry with the Leadership Acceleration Program, Business Incubation Program, and partnership with Motlow State College. The Leadership Acceleration Program is designed to fast-track the development of candidates from under-represented communities for future master distillers, distillery managers, and other senior management positions within the American whiskey industry. Byron Copeland and Tracie Franklin are the first two participants completing the program.


“I couldn’t have asked for a better experience than being part of the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative. Learning so many aspects of the industry and working hands-on with the Jack Daniel’s and Brown-Forman teams was invaluable,” said Copeland. “It’s been a dream to work side-by-side with some of the best whiskey makers in the industry at the Jack Daniel Distillery over the last two years. Having the opportunity to help others just like me is something that I cherish, and I can’t wait to help others establish their careers in this industry.”


In his new management role, Copeland will oversee operations with a focus on ongoing improvements to the whiskey making process and site management, lead and mentor others in the Leadership Acceleration Program for Jack Daniel’s, and work closely with Master Distiller Chris Fletcher and Assistant Distiller Lexie Phillips to lead whiskey maturation innovation and development.


Prior to being selected to the Leadership Acceleration Program, Copeland served as Operations Team Leader at the Jack Daniel Cooperage. Byron joined Brown-Forman in 2015 after previous operations roles for Sabra Dipping Company, Target, and Atlanta Gas Light. He earned a BA from Morehouse College and an MBA from Columbia Southern University.

To learn more about the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative, click here.

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