Jack Daniels has finally acknowledged who the brand’s first master distiller really was. Turns out, it was a Tennessee slave named Nathan “Nearest” Green.
For years, Green’s legacy as the person who taught Jack Daniels how to make whiskey was considered a well kept secret, but in 2016, the brand publicly embraced Green and began incorporating him into distillery tours.
“While slave labor was a part of life in the South prior to the Civil War’s close, Jack Daniel not only never owned slaves but he worked side-by-side with them as a hired hand,” the company’s bio reads.
Nearest is believed to be the first black master distiller.