New Documentary Reminds Viewers Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Was Created by Enslaved African American Man

Nathan “Nearest” Green’s son, George, sits next to Jack Daniel, showing the deep relationship between the Green family and Daniel. It was practically unheard of for an African American to be photographed next to a white person.

A new documentary called Chasing Whiskey digs into the culture and history of one of America’s oldest brands: Jack Daniel’s whiskey.

“A brand that’s survived 150 years, survived the Civil War, survived slavery, survived two World Wars, and prohibition, which ran longer in Tennessee than it did throughout the country,” said Nelson Eddy, Jack Daniel’s official historian, who is featured in the documentary.

Jack Daniel’s is exclusively made in Lynchburg, Tennessee, and shipped around the world to 170 countries. Lynchburg is a small town of about 6,000 people and, in the documentary, you get the feeling everyone is connected to the distillery.

“My brother works at Jack Daniel’s,” said a Lynchburg woman interviewed for the film. “My brother-in-law worked at Jack Daniel’s, my nephew works at Jack Daniel’s, my mother worked at Jack Daniel’s, my daughter, my husband, aunts and uncles.”

The documentary puts strong focus on the whiskey’s impact on global culture. The brand has never hired a spokesperson, but because Jack Daniel’s became a symbol of timeless masculinity, country music stars write it into their songs, Frank Sinatra was famously buried with a bottle, John Belushi’s character in Animal House chugs an entire bottle of it in a scene, and the signature square bottle with the black and white label was prominently featured in the 1963 film Hud to prove just how manly Paul Newman’s character was. But the most interesting thing about Jack Daniel’s whiskey is its history.

Nelson Eddy says Jack Daniel, the man, left home in the late 1850s.

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SOURCE: KIRO Radio, Rachel Belle

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