On their 150th anniversary, Jack Daniels' PR confirm he learned whiskey distilling from a slave

For over a century, the true origins of the whiskey had been white-washed

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

On what is stated to be the 150th anniversary of Jack Daniels, the company's PR arm have finally opened up about a long-standing rumour regarding the product's origins.

Patrons of the tour of the Jack Daniels distillery in Tennesse are often told how, as a boy sometime in the 1850s, a local preacher/distiller by the name of Dan Call saw promise in the young Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniels, and thought him how to distil whiskey himself, and the rest is history.

However, this version of events has proven to be inaccurate.

The New York Times report that Jack Daniels' in-house historian Nelson Eddy has said: “It’s taken something like the anniversary for us to start to talk about ourselves."

The company is now stating that Daniels' didn't learn distilling from Call, but from Nearis Green, one of Call's slaves. Slavery was ebolished in 1865, and Daniels' began working on his distillery the next year, with two of Green's sons in his employ.

Phil Epps, the global brand director for Jack Daniel’s, talked about how the Greens had been previously left out of the product's history: “I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision. [...] As we dug into it, we realized it was something that we could be proud of."

Even the celebration of the 150th anniversary is up for question, with some documentation stating that the registration of his business in 1866, as can be seen on ever Jack Daniels' product, is incorrect, as he didn't register his business with the government until 1875.

Still, the 141st anniversary is as good a time as any to come clean.