For its 150th birthday, Jack Daniel’s is setting the record straight.
Contrary to the brand story the company has been telling, in which Dan Call, a white moonshine distiller, created the whiskey recipe and taught it to his apprentice Jasper Newton ‘Jack’ Daniel, the brand is now embracing an updated version of this history, already well-known to local historians.
In this version, it was not Dan Call, but one of Call’s slaves, Nearis Green, who passed on his knowledge of distilling to Daniel, reports the Daily Mail.
“It’s taken something like the anniversary for us to start to talk about ourselves,” Nelson Eddy, Jack Daniel’s in-house historian tells The New York Times. Though some see adopting this updated history as a marketing tactic, a ploy to attract millennials, the company insists that its only motive is setting the record straight.
Call is quoted as saying, “Uncle Nearest [sic] is the best whiskey maker that I know of,” in a 1967 biography titled Jack Daniel’s Legacy by Ben A. Green.
Nearis Green was just one of many slaves that made up the majority of the workforce in the distilling industry and never received the credit due for their skills and labor.
The Lincoln County process, a Jack Daniel’s tradition in which unaged whiskey is passed through maple charcoal to purify the bourbon, was credited to white Tennessean Alfred Eaton, however experts say the technique more likely came from slaves that used charcoal to remove impurities when illicitly brewing their own alcohol.
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