The slave who taught Jack Daniels to make whiskey
Back in 1866, Jack Daniel’s became the first registered distillery in the United States; today, it’s the top-selling American whiskey in the world.
For much of the brand’s 150-plus years, the story went that the young Jack Daniel learned his trade from a pastor named Dan Call.
In reality, he was taught to distill by an enslaved African, Nearest Green, whose contributions had been written out of history.
In this episode, listen in as Fawn Weaver, the entrepreneur who has made rediscovering Green’s story her business, and Clay Risen, the whiskey expert whose 2016 article in The New York Times launched Weaver’s quest, tell us the true story of Nearest Green and Jack Daniel—and of American whiskey.