The Slave Behind Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Recipe to Receive New Honor

Jack Daniel's

The slave who helped craft Jack Daniel’s, the most successful American whiskey of all time, is finally getting his due recognition.

(Image: Pixabay)


Although Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel is credited with inventing Jack Daniel’s in the 19th century, the company revealed last year that Daniel learned the trade of whiskey making from a slave named Nathan “Uncle Nearest” Green. (Green’s nickname is often incorrectly misspelled as “Nearis.”) Daniel then went on to open the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey distillery in 1875, where Green worked as the master distiller until at least 1881.

New York Times best-selling author Fawn Weaver says she discovered the story of Green from an article published by The New York Times that moved her to dig more into his history. That’s when she learned that Green was not the only African American involved in the process of distilling Jack Daniel’s whiskey. In fact, generations of Green’s descendants worked together with the Daniel family to make the iconic whiskey decades later. Some of Green’s offspring still work in the whiskey industry today.

Now, Weaver will dedicate a book, memorial park, street naming, and museum to pay tribute to Green’s legacy. She also plans to set up a college scholarship fund for his descendants.

“When Fawn contacted us, we were excited to hear that someone was bringing to light all of this information about our family,” said Mitchell Green, a relative of Green, in a statement. “Until now, only our family and a small community were aware of the impact our ancestor had on the Tennessee whiskey industry.”

According to a press release, Weaver and her husband have purchased the farm where the original Jack Daniel’s Distillery was located and have set up The Nearest Green Foundation to ensure that Green’s story “will never again be forgotten.”

“Already in the works are artifacts being placed on permanent loan to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.; plans for a museum in Lynchburg dedicated to the history of Tennessee whiskey; the renaming of a street to Nearest Green Way; the Nearest Green Memorial Park in Lynchburg; a book scheduled for completion this year; an improvement project at Highview Cemetery in Lynchburg, where Green is believed to have been buried; and a scholarship fund to benefit his direct descendants. The scholarship’s first recipients are Matthew McGilberry and Marcus Butler, both attending college this fall,” reads the press release.

“To correct the record, Weaver has written a new foreword and preface for Jack Daniel’s official biography, “Jack Daniel’s Legacy,” which will be republished this month in honor of the 50th anniversary of its original release.”

To top it off, Weaver will release a handcrafted, ultra-premium Tennessee whiskey called Uncle Nearest 1856 later this month.

“When I met with the descendants of George Green, the son most known for helping his father, Nearest, and Jack Daniel in the whiskey business, I asked them what they thought was the best way to honor Nearest, said Fawn. “Their response was, ‘No one owes us anything. We know that. But putting his name on a bottle, letting people know what he did, would be great.’”

Quincy Jones Wins $9.42M in Lawsuit Against Michael Jackson’s Estate

Quincy Jones

Legendary music producer Quincy Jones was awarded $9.42 million in damages on Wednesday in a legal dispute with Michael Jackson’s estate over unpaid royalties.

Quincy Jones (Image: Wikimedia)


Jones, who worked with Jackson to co-produce his albums Off the Wall, Thriller, and Bad, originally filed a lawsuit in 2013 against MJJ Productions, which is controlled by Jackson’s estate. The suit claimed that Jones was owed $30 million in royalties for the use of Jackson’s music in the posthumous film This Is It and two Cirque du Soleil shows. According to Jones, the estate cut him out of the deals that were made to feature Jackson’s music following his sudden death in June 2009. The estate, on the other hand, argued that Jones was due $392,000, which occurred from accounting errors, reports The New York Times. They also pointed out that Jones generated $8 million in royalties until 2011.

After a two-week trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, the jury awarded the 84-year-old veteran producer less than one-third of his initial ask.

“Although this judgement is not the full amount that I was seeking, I am very grateful that the jury decided in our favor in this matter,” Jones said in a statement, according to Variety. “I view it not only as a victory for myself personally, but for artists’ rights overall.”

He added, “This lawsuit was never about Michael, it was about protecting the integrity of the work we all did in the recording studio and the legacy of what we created.”

Jackson’s estate attorneys, Howard Weitzman and Zia Modabber, released a statement condemning the decision. “While the jury denied Quincy Jones $21 million—or more than two-thirds of what he demanded—from the estate of Michael Jackson, we still believe that giving him millions of dollars that he has no right to receive under his contracts is wrong.”

They added, “Although Mr. Jones is portraying this as a victory for artists’ rights, the real artist is Michael Jackson and it is his money Mr. Jones is seeking.”