Bottles of Uncle Nearest Whiskey in a line. Photograph taken from Uncle Nearest website (

From Hidden Figures to Empowered Voices

 Did you know that Jack Daniels learned the art of whiskey distillation from an African-American male who was a former slave?

His name was Nathan “Nearest” Green.

And now, there’s a Whiskey brand to honor his legacy: Uncle Nearest.


A photograph that changed it all.

It all started with a photograph.

A photograph that found itself in the hands of an author with a passion that will unveil a story that has been written out of history for far too long.

On a trip to Singapore with her husband, Fawn Weaver found herself drawn to a photograph of Jack Daniel beside an African-American man. The image came from a time when African-American employees were often marginalized.

That man’s name was George Green, the son of Nathan “Nearest” Green or "Uncle Nearest" as we all know him today, the enslaved man who taught Jack Daniel the art of Tennessee whiskey. 

At this interest, Weaver followed her intrigue and investigated the narrative all the way to Tennessee. She dug and engaged with more than a hundred of Green’s relatives, and worked with professionals from different fields to uncover the truth. 

With her passion and determination to find the truth, she was able to unlock fascinating facts about the story of the elusive Nathan “Nearest” Green.

Uncle Nearest: Nathan “Nearest” Green 

Their story unfolded in the late 1850s when an orphan named Jack Daniel began working for a wealthy landowner named Dan Call. Nearest Green, one of Call’s Slaves, became Jack Daniel’s mentor as he was the Chief Whiskey Distiller of Call’s farm.

In 1866, one year after the abolition of slavery, Daniel ventured out on his own, starting his own distillery. He turned to his mentor, Nearest Green which led to ‘Uncle Nearest’ becoming Jack Daniel’s first Head Distiller.

This captivating story reveals not only the relevance of Nearest Green to the success of Jack Daniels. It also serves as a poignant reminder of the profound impact people of color have on American history.

Fawn Weaver’s Mission to Spread Awareness 

Despite having no prior experience in distilling, Fawn Weaver decided to establish the Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville, Tennessee, to honor the legacy of Uncle Nearest.

In an interview, Fawn Weaver states that she is on a mission to ensure that Nearest Green's significant contributions are recognized and celebrated. Even though the whiskey industry is predominantly white and male-dominated, she remains focused on her mission and vision.

This story is a testament to the progressive future we can see ahead of us as passionate individuals like Weaver, and all the professionals that she has worked with in pursuit of the truth, work to correct mistakes of our past.

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