In a photo in Jack Daniel’s old office, Daniel (with moustache and white hat), is shown at his distillery in Tennessee in the late 1800s. The man to his right could be a son of Nearis Green, a slave who helped teach Daniel how to make whiskey.
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 the truth is a bit more complicated.
The brand is finally ready to embrace its controversial history after it revealed it was not 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.
The Times reporTED that, “enslaved men not only made up the bulk of the distilling labor force, but they often played crucial skilled roles in the whiskey-making process. In the same way that white cookbook authors often appropriated recipes from their black cooks, white distillery owners took credit for the whiskey.”
Jack Daniel’s says it simply wants to set the record straight. The Green story has been known to historians and locals for decades, even as the distillery officially ignored it.
“I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision” to leave the Greens out of the company’s story, said Phil Epps, the global brand director for Jack Daniel’s.