Jack Daniels’ storytelling effort unveils whiskey-maker’s past

The company said it wasn’t a ‘conscious decision’ to omit the slave that helped the company’s famous recipe, but realized it was a story it ‘could be proud of.’

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A lengthy New York Times piece details the likely influence that a slave named Nearis Green had on the whiskey’s original recipe.

In startup culture, founding stories often have the power to inspire venture capitalists to pump millions into those businesses.

However, a 150-year-old company’s story has probably been told and altered over time to create a favorable picture. Such is the case with Jack Daniel’s, whose founding story boiled down to Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel learning how to make whiskey from a moonshine distiller named Dan Call.

The real story—one that Jack Daniel’s is now embracing in its marketing and social media efforts—is that it wasn’t Call, but rather Green, one of Call’s slaves, who helped Daniel get started in the distillery business.

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