The History of Jack Daniels Will Astonish You
The Man Behind The Brand
Whether you’re an avid drinker of whiskey or not, the name Jack Daniels is well known around the world. The brand and the man behind the name has achieved a lot throughout the years. Everyone knows the name of the brand, but how much do we know about the man behind the drink?
There are a lot of biographies that are dedicated to the life and death of Jack Daniels. With each book bearing new facts about this distiller. We’ve decided to collect new information about him and share it with everyone.
While most of his career and history is available online. There are still secrets about this distiller that’s yet to be revealed. There is a different and more complicated tale that only a hand full of people know. And this is what we will explore today, so read on to learn more about history’s most successful distiller.
His Early Years
Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel or Jack Daniels for short was born in 1850. The information regarding his exact date of birth is still unknown up to this date. Some sources say September 5, 1846, short of 4 years according to his tombstone.
Experts believe that his exact date of birth is found in his sister’s diary. In her diary, she stated that Daniel was born in January 1849 and not on September 5, 1846. Another fact that’s discovered in her diary is that their mother died in 1849. This is why he couldn’t have been born in 1850.
Daniel’s mother was Lucinda Daniel and his father was Calaway Daniel. Jack was the youngest of 10 children. In 1846 Jack’s mother passed away leaving him and his siblings with his father. His father remarried shortly after his mother died to leave them in the care of their stepmother.
Jack, however, didn’t have the best relationship with his stepmother. This prompted Jack to leave his household after his father’s death during the American Civil War. He became an orphan during this period.
During his teenage years, Daniel was taken in by a preacher under the name of Dan Call. He was also employed at moonshine distillery where he began learning to distill. During this time, there was an internal struggle between his siblings on their inheritance following the death of their father.
After the resolution of the dispute, Daniel founded a distilling business together with the person who taught him how to brew, Dan Call. Later, Daniel took over the operation of the distillery because Dan Call quit due to religious reasons. Because of his love for the distillery, he decided to purchase the land where the distillery is.
Jack’s distillery later became the second most successful distillery by the end of the 1880’s. And even after a 100 years, his success with whiskey is still recognized even today. Jack Daniels signature drink is considered as one of the best-selling drinks around the world.
During his adult life, Jack grew up not having any children or marrying for that matter. What he did during this time was employing his nephews. His nephews worked for him at his distillery during the duration of their stay.
One of his nephews, Lemuel “Lem” Motlow, the son of his sister named Finetta, was one of those he kept. His nephew soon took over the bookkeeping job due to his excellence in numbers. During this time Daniel has already health problems that he will soon face in the future.
This is the reason why he gave the rights to his distillery to his 2 nephews.
Jack Daniels Death
During the early 1900’s, Daniel’s health was already rapidly deteriorating and soon, after he died. Rumors suggest that Daniel died from blood poisoning due to an infection that started in his toes.
The reason why his toes got infected is that whenever he couldn’t open his vault, he would kick it in a fit of rage. As to why he couldn’t open his safe is that due to his failing health he tends to forget the number combination of this safe.
However, this tall tale was quickly debunked by Jack Daniels’ historian as untrue because there was no evidence to support such claims.
His Secret Life
Everyone has their own secret, and this holds true including Jack Daniels. He has his own little secret that most people probably don’t know. Although this secret isn’t new, there’s still some merit in learning the secret behind your favorite brand.
So, what is Jack Daniel’s secret? His secret lies within how he was taught in making whiskey. As you’ve read before, he was taught how to make whiskey by Dan Cali. Well, this is not the case, Jack was actually taught by a man named Nearis Green, one of Dan Call’s Slaves.
Who would have thought that the home of the world’s best-selling whiskey had a dark secret? Why would he conceal such a fact? Was he ashamed at that time because he learned how to distill with the help of a slave? We will never know the truth.
Even though this piece of information was never new to historians, they were still keen on why the distiller refused to release this version of the story. It was only when a writer passionately followed this story that the distillery finally embraced this version of the story.
The Hidden Story of Nearis Green
Now that we know who really taught Jack Daniels how to make whiskey, it’s time to know the story of the man who taught him how to distill. While most of these accounts are built on testimonial evidence, there’s no denying that Nearis Green taught Jack how to distill.
Based on historical records and archives, Nearis Green was one of Dan Call’s slaves during the 1800’s. These accounts came straight from Tennessee, Georgia, and, Washington, D.C. these accounts were verified by Nearis Green’s living descendants.
After Dan Call took in the young Jack Daniels, he instructed his slave to help him teach Jack Daniels about making whiskey. Nearis Green was even hired by Daniel after the Civil War which Dan Call resigned himself as the owner of the distillery.
Evidence also showed that Green’s name is actually not Nearis Green but it’s actually Nathan Green. For years, Jack Daniel and Nearis Green worked hand in hand in making what is known to be as the world’s most popular whiskey.
History and Success of Jack Daniels Distillery
Following the resignation of Dan Call, Jack, together with Nearis Green took over the operations of the distillery. They created their own version of Call’s whiskey using Green’s supposed recipe. Now, equipped with a new recipe they began brewing the very first Jack Daniels whiskey.
Soon after the success of the Jack Daniels brand, he fell ill and the distillery was inherited by his nephews. A law was passed on 1910 that barred Jack Daniel’s distillery to produce its products within the state of Tennessee. The law was questioned by Motlow but the Supreme court upheld the law.
Due to the prohibition, the distillery shifted its operations in Birmingham, Alabama, and St Louis, Missouri. The same thing happened to their Alabama distillery, a law was also passed prohibiting its production. This was also followed by their St. Louis branch following the passage of Eighteenth Amendment.
Jack Daniel’s whiskey would soon surge in popularity in 1904 after it was declared in St. Louis World’s Fair as the finest whiskey in America. This, however, did not stop its decline on Tennessee because of various movements that want the distillery closed.
With the passage of different laws prohibiting the production of Jack Daniels whiskey. Motlow decided to run for senator in the state of Tennessee. This led to the repeal of the laws which prohibited the production of Jack Daniels whiskey.
The Start of World War II
Following the victory of Motlow against the laws prohibiting the production of Jack Daniels whiskey, World War II shortly followed after. The U.S. government halted the manufacture of whiskey because of the shortage of the production of corn during this time.
From 1942 to 1946 the distillery halted their operations until the ban was lifted after the end of World War II. During this time, Motlow passed on the distillery to his children after his death during the same year. He died on 1947, leaving his 5 children to manage the distillery.
The distillery resumed its operations on 1947 after the ban on making whiskey was lifted. Soon after, the distillery was sold by the siblings to Brown-Forman Corporation in the mid-1950’s. They continued the legacy that was left behind by Jack Daniels and continued their production.
The Brown-Forman Takeover
After the Brown-Forman Corporation took over the distillery from the siblings, the sales grew steadily as time passed by. This is, however, met with a lot of delays following the insufficiency of supply. This is due to the high demand for Jack Daniels liquor in the market.
The reason for the shortage was due to the halting of production during the 1900’s. Supply was further cut short due to World War II. Another problem that they faced was the production and distillation of the liquor.
It was only during the 1980’s that the production of Jack Daniels brand finally took off. The brand would soon take international recognition following the opening of foreign exports. Even the US troops that were stationed abroad were supplied by this liquor.
Slowly but surely, this American made brand became an instant hit overseas. It gained a huge fan base abroad because of its versatility. You could mix a bottle of Jack Daniels with other liquor to form new sprites.
Today, Jack Daniels is considered one of the most successful liquor brands in the world. Whenever you go out drinking with your friends and family you’ll always see at the bar counter the name Jack Daniels.
Jack Daniels is probably one of the most mixable brands in the world. You can discover a lot of new drinks by mixing Jack with other liquor. The most popular mix that you’ve probably heard is the Jack mixed with cola. While others prefer drinking it raw or on the rocks, there are those which prefer to drink it mixed.
Because of the worldwide success of this brand, whenever we say whiskey the first thing that comes to mind is Jack Daniels. This brand has become synonymous with the word whiskey because of its worldwide success.
How Jack Daniel's Whiskey Is Made
Just like any other whiskey, Jack Daniel’s undergoes a lot of processes before it’s made to be the whiskey that it is. But before we go to the process of making this liquor, we will first identify what kind of liquor Jack Daniels is.
Jack Daniels is a type of Tennessee whiskey, it’s aged for 3-4 years in charcoal-filtered barrels and it’s made sour mash style. The barrels that house this drink must be new and aged for a minimum of 2 years charred.
Because of the charcoal filter, the flavor of this type of liquor is sweet with hints of charcoal. Jack Daniels has a number of drinks under its brand, and each brand has its own unique flavor and scent. One of their most notable brands is their Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee.
A Staple Brand
What makes this brand stand out from the rest is that the distillers carefully measure each ingredient. They use only high-quality corn in making their mash, this has been the quality of this distiller since it was in operation 100 years ago.
Jack Daniels has perfected their craft by making America’s staple liquor. They store their liquor in aged old barrels for as long as possible to achieve the best taste when it comes to flavor and texture. Throughout the years it has become an American Pop Icon when it comes to American liquor.
Due to sudden changes in the weather, the distillers decided that they should keep the barrels longer to keep the flavor strong. The distillers working on the barrels are the ones who decide whether the barrel is ready for bottling or not.
While most people buy Jack Daniels per bottle, there are those which buy it per barrel. Yes! You’ve heard that right! Per barrel. Jack Daniels has a program called “Buy The Barrel Program” which allows its patrons to buy a barrel of Jack Daniels whiskey.