Courtesy of LS
The ESSENCE of Culture festival is almost here, and we’re gearing up for all the fun that’s coming to New Orleans from June 30 through July 3. There will be plenty of events to attend, from the Beauty Carnival to the Wellness House to E-Suite, the ESSENCE Film Festival and all the major concerts taking place from Friday to Sunday with Nicki Minaj, Janet Jackson and New Edition in the lead. poster. But that’s just a taste of what’s to come.
One of the newest events is the ESSENCE Eats Food & Wine Festival, which will feature a bevy of talented black vendors whose drinks are shaking things up in wine and spirits. Some of the following vendors speak on panels, support the event, and their wares are made available for drinking and buying. Others are just names and tastes that you should familiarize yourself with as soon as possible. Get to know them and feel free to show your love for the following brands, whether you experience them in person at NOLA or want to try them at home.
Created by husband and wife team Don and Nayana Ferguson, Anteel’s tequilas, including Blanco, Coconut Lime Blanco and Reposado, have become award-winning offerings in the spirits lane. Nayana will be a panelist at ESSENCE Eats.
With brand principles including authenticity, freedom and self-determination, Exclave Spirits’ aged whiskeys (one rye and one bourbon) are rich in flavor while the brand is rich in purpose. Founder Andrew Albert will be another panelist at ESSENCE Eats.
Although not technically black owned, Lobos 1707 operates with the help of black talent. That includes CEO Dia Simms and LeBron James, an early investor and shareholder in the tequila brand, which launched in 2021.
With their hugely popular Black Girl Magic Wines, which they presented at the Festival years ago, the McBride sisters, Robin and Andrea, have significantly expanded their wine empire with a number of offerings. The sisters will speak as panelists at ESSENCE Eats.
With CEO Fawn Weaver and master blender Victoria Eady Butler at the helm, Uncle Nearest won 185 awards in 2021 and is said to be the best-selling African-American spirits brand of all time. Tracie Franklin, part of the Nearest and Jack Leadership Acceleration Program created by Uncle Nearest and Jack Daniels to diversify the whiskey path, will be at ESSENCE Eats as a panelist.
The creation of New Orleans native Kim Lewis, and based on her love of the city and family history, Olé Orleans Wines has been producing and selling premier NOLA-based wines since 2018. Discover Lewis as as a panelist at ESSENCE Eats.
Created by husband and wife team Stevens Charles and Myriam Jean-Baptiste, LS is an award-winning cream liqueur inspired by the beloved recipe for Haitian creams. Jean-Baptiste will be present as a panelist at ESSENCE Eats.
Co-owned by ESSENCE Fest headliner Nicki Minaj, this wine brand is known for its flavorful moscatos, sangrias, red wine blends and more.
ESSENCE Festival regular Mary J. Blige won’t be taking the stage this year, but you should get your hands on her popular and delicious line of wines, Sun Goddess.
From Rose to Grand Reserve Brut and more, B. Stuyvesant champagne offerings are one of a kind and it makes sense to see why. Marvina Robinson is one of the few black women in the champagne lane, innovating while drawing inspiration from her Brooklyn roots.
The LA-based brand’s craft vodka is 10 years strong. It was founded by Paul Ryan Elliot and Harry Martin and is known for its smooth taste and very rich, vibrant aroma.
Kevin Hart, headliner of ESSENCE Fest which will perform its “Reality Check” tour on Thursday night, is also a panelist for ESSENCE Eats. He got into wine and spirits with his new brand of tequila. The Gran Coramino Reposado Cristalino is a clear reposado that is said to have delicious oak and butterscotch flavors.
Founded in 2011, the New Orleans beer brand is said to be the first black-owned brewery in the state of Louisiana and in the South. You can find him at the bar at ESSENCE Eats.
The black-owned craft beer brand Crowns & Hops was founded by Beny Ashburn and Teo Hunter. Their mission? In addition to creating world-class beer, it’s about “creating family-friendly, community-centered spaces with underserved communities of color in mind, fostering diversity, economic growth and impacting inclusion”.