Meet the slave who taught Jack Daniels how to make Whiskey, without him teaching Jack the whiskey game there’d be no Jack. Period. Of course when the story first came out about how Jack Daniels came to be; They told a story that a white moonshine distiller named Dan Call had taught his young apprentice, Jasper Newton ‘Jack’ Daniel, how to run his Tennessee distillery. When really he was a slave named Nearis Green who had passed on his distilling experience to Daniel. Another white man stealing the black man’s ideas and making money off of it.
Add this to the list of other inventions the white man stole and made money off of ie: Cotton, Gin, light bulb and etc.
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.
This is all coming out because after years of denying the black man who was truly behind the liquor brand, Jack Daniels has accepted the history which will be featured on its distillery tour.
Slaves once make up the majority of men working in the distilling industry and records of slave sales show that their whisky making skills were highly prized.
Historians also believe that certain methods used to create American whiskies, not found in German or British traditions, may have come from ancient African techniques passed down through the generations.
But, like so much else appropriated from enslaved African Americans – from recipes to traditions, the distillery owners would take credit for their slaves’ whisky.
And with so little written about the contribution of slaves at the time, historians are left with few clues to how enslaved men and women created American whisky.
Read more here via The New York Times