After 150 years, Jack Daniels has finally revealed that a slave was behind the world-famous recipe of America’s most popular whisky.
Until now, the story told was that a white moonshine distiller named Dan Call had taught his young apprentice, Jasper Newton ‘Jack’ Daniel, how to run his Tennessee distillery.
But it appears that the brand is finally ready to embrace its controversial history after it revealed it was not Dan Call, but one of Call’s slaves named Nearis Green who had passed on his distilling experience to Daniel.
‘It’s taken something like the anniversary for us to start to talk about ourselves,’ Nelson Eddy, Jack Daniel’s in-house historian, told the New York Times.
According to a 1967 biography, Jack Daniel’s Legacy, Call told his slave to teach Daniel everything he knew.
Uncle Nearest is the best whiskey maker that I know of,’ Call is recorded as having said.Slavery was brought to an end in 1865 with the ratification of the 13th Amendment.Daniel opened his own distillery a year later where he employed two of Green’s sons.
A photo taken from the time shows a man thought to be one of Green’s sons sitting alongside Daniel and his workers. The photograph is significant as typically, black employees would have been forced to stand at the back.
His inclusion may have signified that he played an important role at the Jack Daniels distillery.
Yet Nearis Green and his family were all too quick forgotten about until very recently.