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Who Taught Jack Daniels To Make Whiskey? (2024 Updated)

Who Taught Jack Daniel’s To Make Whiskey

Last Updated on March 13, 2024 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 Daniels Tennessee whiskey.

Who Taught Jack Daniels To Make Whiskey?

Mini Jack Daniel’s, who taught jack daniels to make whiskey

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, who taught jack daniels to make whiskey

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.

Read: Which Jack Daniel’s Tour is the Best?

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?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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.

Did Uncle Nearest really teach Jack Daniels?

Yes, it is widely believed that Nathan “Nearest” Green, an African American slave, played a significant role in teaching Jack Daniel the art of distillation. Nearest was a skilled distiller who shared his knowledge and expertise with Jack Daniel, contributing to the development of the iconic Tennessee whiskey.

Who is the father of whiskey?

While the title “father of whiskey” is subjective and contested, many attribute it to George Washington, the first President of the United States. Washington was an avid distiller at his Mount Vernon plantation, experimenting with various grains and production methods, contributing to the early development of American whiskey.

Who created Uncle Nearest whiskey?

Uncle Nearest whiskey, officially known as Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey, was created by Fawn Weaver. She was inspired by the story of Nathan “Nearest” Green, the African American distiller who played a crucial role in the early days of Jack Daniel’s whiskey production.

Weaver founded Uncle Nearest Whiskey to honor Green’s legacy and contributions to American whiskey-making.

What was Jack Daniels real name?

Jack Daniel’s real name was Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel. Born in 1846 in Lynchburg, Tennessee, he went on to establish the Jack Daniel’s distillery, where he implemented the unique charcoal mellowing process. The brand became synonymous with quality Tennessee whiskey, and Jack Daniel’s legacy continues to thrive globally.

How old was Jack Daniels when he died?

Jack Daniel passed away on October 10, 1911, at the age of 61. Despite his relatively short life, he left an indelible mark on the whiskey industry through the creation and refinement of the iconic Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey.

How much is the Brown-Forman family worth?

As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, the net worth of the Brown-Forman family, who owns Jack Daniel’s and other prominent brands, was estimated to be in the multi-billion-dollar range. However, individual net worth can fluctuate based on various factors, including business performance and market conditions.

What is the oldest whiskey brand?

Bushmills, established in 1608 in Northern Ireland, claims the title of the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world. With a history spanning over four centuries, Bushmills has consistently produced Irish whiskey, making it a venerable and historic brand in the whiskey industry.

What makes Jack Daniels special?

Several factors contribute to what makes Jack Daniel’s special in the world of whiskey. The distinctive charcoal mellowing process, known as the Lincoln County Process, imparts a smooth and mellow character to the whiskey.

The unique combination of grains in the mash bill, primarily corn, gives Jack Daniel’s its signature sweetness.

Additionally, the whiskey is aged in new charred oak barrels, enhancing its flavor profile.

The commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and adherence to time-honored traditions have solidified Jack Daniel’s as a globally recognized and respected brand. The brand’s enduring legacy, coupled with its cultural impact and iconic square bottle, further contribute to its special status in the whiskey landscape.

Who is the master distiller for Jack Daniels?

As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, Chris Fletcher was the Assistant Master Distiller at Jack Daniel’s; however, Jeff Arnett served as the Master Distiller for over a decade before resigning in 2020, and there might have been changes since then.

Is Jack Daniels technically whiskey?

Yes, Jack Daniel’s is technically a Tennessee whiskey. While all Tennessee whiskey is a type of whiskey, not all whiskey is Tennessee whiskey.

What sets Tennessee whiskey apart is the additional step known as the Lincoln County Process, where the whiskey undergoes charcoal filtering before aging, contributing to its distinct smoothness.

What is the story behind Jack Daniels whiskey?

Jack Daniel’s whiskey has a fascinating origin rooted in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The brand was established by Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel in 1866. Jack was mentored by a Lutheran minister and Tennessee whiskey distiller, Dan Call, and he eventually perfected his unique charcoal mellowing process.

The brand faced setbacks during Prohibition but rebounded and gained international acclaim.

The iconic square bottle and Old No. 7 label have become synonymous with Jack Daniel’s, embodying a legacy of craftsmanship and tradition.

What is the history of Jack Daniels whisky?

Jack Daniel’s whisky has a storied history dating back to its inception in 1866. Founded by Jack Daniel in Lynchburg, Tennessee, the brand has become an American whiskey icon. Jack Daniel learned the art of distillation from Reverend Dan Call, a Lutheran minister and whiskey maker.

The distinctive charcoal mellowing process, known as the Lincoln County Process, was perfected by Jack and remains a hallmark of the brand. The distillery faced challenges during Prohibition, but its reputation rebounded, reaching international prominence.

The unique square bottle and Old No. 7 label are enduring symbols of Jack Daniel’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship.

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. 


  1. How Jack Daniels Became A Whiskey?
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