Every time that smooth brown Jack Daniel’s whisky passes down your throat, you can’t help but thank the genius who created the magic drink. But as it turns out, you need to thank someone else because the company just set the records straight for its 150th anniversary by revealing that a slave was behind the world-famous whiskey.

The company had previously stated that Daniel was taught by a Lutheran minister, Dan Call, when he was 15 years old.  

The company now says that Daniel didn’t learn distilling from Dan Call, but from a man named Nearis Green, who was one of Call’s slaves. 

Well, this recent piece of revelation was not completely a secret, but it is one that the distillery has only recently begun to embrace and acknowledge in social media and marketing campaigns.

For many years, the slave labor was an indispensable part of many industries in America. And in this case too, enslaved people played a huge roll in the shaping of American whiskey. It is also said that African distilling traditions are what makes the American whiskey so unique.

The New York Times says,

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
b’Daniel, with mustache and white hat 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/Source: New York Times’

Unfortunately their contributions have never been acknowledged.  But now that Jack Daniel’s is finally giving them the due credit, even if it’s late, it’s a step in the right direction. 

Now that you know Nearis Green’s name, don’t forget to raise a toast to his name the next time you drink!