Uncle Nearest Jack Daniels: The Untold Legacy of a Whiskey Legend

Nathan 'Nearest' Green, a pivotal African-American distiller, profoundly shaped the American whiskey industry and taught Jack Daniel the craft.

The History and Legacy of Uncle Nearest

A rustic distillery with barrels aging, a historical marker, and a portrait of Uncle Nearest

The Life of Nathan ‘Nearest’ Green

Nathan “Nearest” Green, an enslaved man in Tennessee, played a significant role in American whiskey history.

Born around 1820, Nearest was a skilled distiller who helped develop the iconic Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.

Despite the hardships he faced during his life, his influence on the whiskey industry is undeniably critical.

The Bond with Jack Daniel

In the mid-1800s, a young Jack Daniel was taken under Nearest Green’s wing, learning the art of whiskey distilling from him.

The two were working on the property of Dan Call, a Lynchburg preacher, grocer, and distiller.

Their bond grew strong over time as Nearest taught Jack the intricate process of creating the distinct whiskey we know today.

Emancipation and Legacy

Following the Civil War and the abolishment of slavery, Nearest continued to play a crucial role in Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

In fact, he became the first Black master distiller in the United States, passing on his knowledge to future generations of whiskey makers.

Nearest’s legacy is felt in the success of the Jack Daniel’s brand and the burgeoning American whiskey industry.

Nearest’s own descendants have continued to make their mark in the whiskey world.

His great-great-granddaughter, Victoria Eady Butler, currently holds the title of Master Distiller for the Uncle Nearest whiskey brand, which was founded in 2016 to honor Nearest Green’s contributions to American whiskey history.

The brand has gone on to win numerous awards and has become a symbol of excellence in the industry.

In conclusion, the history of Nathan “Uncle Nearest” Green, an enslaved distiller who shaped American whiskey, is a testament to his resilience and skill.

His bond with Jack Daniel and his role in the industry post-emancipation highlight his significant contributions to both whiskey and American history.

Today, his descendants carry on his legacy through their work in the whiskey industry, preserving Nearest Green’s name and ensuring his place in history.

The Cultural Impact and Recognition

Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey Brand

Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey was founded in honor of Nathan “Nearest” Green, the first known African-American master distiller, who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey.

The company started by entrepreneur Fawn Weaver has grown into the bestselling African-American-owned and founded spirits brand of all time.

The brand uses the Lincoln County Process, which involves sugar maple charcoal filtering, distinguishing itself as a unique American whiskey from Tennessee.

Recognizing Historical Contributions

The Nearest Green Distillery opened to the public in September, honoring Nearest’s legacy through educational efforts and tourism.

The distillery features a new brand called Landis & Green, a nod to Jack Daniel’s last name (Landis) and Nearest’s surname.

The company focuses on recognizing the historical contributions of Nearest Green and his influence on the Tennessee whiskey industry.

Educational Efforts and Tourism

To further promote the history and contributions of African Americans in the whiskey industry, the Nearest & Jack Advancement Initiative was launched by Uncle Nearest and Jack Daniel’s distilleries, committing to a combined $5 million investment.

This joint initiative includes educational efforts such as the Nearest Green Foundation, supporting marginalized populations through scholarship programs focused on distilling and tourism.

In addition to educational efforts, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey aims to contribute to critical sustainable tourism by offering tours highlighting the history of black travel and the African diaspora.

These tours help preserve and share Nearest Green’s legacy, as well as the broader historical context of the whiskey industry and African-American contributions to it.

A documentary focusing on Nearest Green’s life and influence is also in development, further showcasing the impact and recognition of his role in the whiskey world.