Who Taught Jack Daniel’s To Make Whiskey? (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Jack Daniel’s is one of the first brands that come to mind when thinking of Tennessee whiskey. They have a wide selection of whiskies that cater to every whiskey lover’s palette. Having produced premium quality whiskies, you may have wondered who taught Jack Daniel’s to make whiskey?

Keep scrolling to know the secret history of the enslaved man behind Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey.

Who Taught Jack Daniel’s To Make Whiskey?

Mini Jack Daniel’s

Nathan “Nearest” Green taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey. In the late 1850s, Jack left home and worked for a local preacher named Reverend Dan Call. He worked as a chore boy at Reverend Call’s farm. 

The Call farm had a still, which got Jack interested. It was under the watch and care of an enslaved person named Nathan during that time. Nearest did the mentoring most of the time and helped him learn everything in what would become Jack’s life passion [1].

Who Is Uncle Nearest?

Uncle Nearest, born Nathan Green, was born in Maryland around 1820. He was born into slavery. He then moved to Lynchburg, Tennessee, where he was enslaved and was hired out by Dan Call.

He was Reverend Dan Call’s distiller and became Jack Daniel’s mentor. Nathan specialized in sugar maple charcoal filtering, which gave his whiskey unique smoothness. The process was known as the Lincoln County process.

Nathan was the first known African-American distiller on record in the United States. He was married to Harriet Green.

They had eleven children together. JD’s distillery put Green’s story in his website’s official history. 

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How Did Uncle Nearest Teach Jack Daniel’s?

Nearest Green Distillery

Uncle Nearest Green taught the teenage Daniel’s how to distill whiskey. Nearest was the master distiller of Reverend Dan Call after the Emancipation Proclamation.

In the late 1850s, he met a young white boy named Jack who worked at the farm Dan owned. The preacher saw potential in young Jack and taught him how to run his whiskey still. He then asked Nearest Green to help him teach the young Jack Daniel’s. 

Jack became Green’s apprentice and continued learning from him. After the Civil war, Reverend Call sold the business to Jack.

During that time, Nathan was already a free man and was asked by Jack to be his first head distiller. Check out this Uncle Nearest 1856 & 1884 comparison here

Is There An Uncle Nearest & Jack Daniel’s Partnership?

Uncle Nearest & Jack Daniel’s

Entrepreneur Fawn Weaver of Uncle Nearest has a partnership with Jack Daniel’s Matt Blevins to increase diversity in the American whiskey industry.

They launched the Nearest and Jack Advancement Initiative. The joint initiative aims to increase inclusion in the industry. 

They have a combined initial $5 million investment to help create the Nearest Green School of Distilling and provide expertise and resources for people of color entering the American whiskey industry.

Do They Have The Same Distilling Technique?

Jack Daniel’s and Uncle Nearest Premium whiskey brand both use the Lincoln County Process or what other people call charcoal mellowing.

The process uses the sugar maple charcoal filtering method to make Tennessee whiskey. It’s time-consuming, but it brings the distinctive smoothness and mellowness people expect from these premium brands.

This distillation technique is said to have originated from enslaved people from West Africa, who used charcoal to purify beverages. But how long does it take to make whiskey?


Is the Uncle Nearest story true?

Yes, the Uncle Nearest story is true. In 2017, Fawn Weaver, an author and now the CEO of Uncle Nearest Premium whiskey brand, unearthed the remarkable legacy of an ex-slave turned Jack Daniel’s first master distiller.

He first mastered the techniques of making top-quality whiskey and passed his knowledge to Jack Daniel.  

Who started the Jack Daniels distillery?

Jasper Newton Daniel, whom the rest of the world knows as Jack Daniel, started Jack Daniel’s Distillery.

His whiskey company was established in 1866 and was the first registered distillery in the USA. The distillery was sold to Brown-Forman Corporation in 1956. But where is Jack Daniel’s whiskey produced?

Does Jack Daniel’s own Uncle Nearest?

No, Jack Daniel’s doesn’t own Uncle Nearest. Fawn Wilson-Weaver founded Uncle Nearest Premium whiskey and serves as its CEO today.

Weaver had a plan to have each batch of 1884 Uncle Nearest whiskey be blended by one of Green’s descendants. Victoria Eady Butler entered the industry in 2018 and became the Master Blender. Butler’s great-great-grandfather is Green.

Final Thoughts

Jack Daniel’s whiskey has been a household name in the whiskey industry. The Daniel Family has made millions from the Jack Daniel Distillery for years. 

Jack Daniel Distillery’s hidden ingredient is the help of an enslaved man named Nathan Green, as revealed by the New York Times in 2016. The story was proven to be true since there’s an old photo of Jack Daniel in a white hat hanging in his old office. Jack was pictured beside Green’s family member, George Green, Green’s son.

The Green family worked side by side with the Daniel family for years. They also lived side by side with them. While the Green Family were paid fairly, they didn’t own the Jack Daniel Distillery. 



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.

2 thoughts on “Who Taught Jack Daniel’s To Make Whiskey? (2023 Updated)

  • June 3, 2022 2:23 am at 2:23 am

    It should be about Dan Call !

  • June 3, 2022 3:15 pm at 3:15 pm

    Dan Call only owned the still. Nathan Green was his master distiller.


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