Maker's Mark, Keeneland unveil bottle with Mark Stoops

jpatton1@herald-leader.comApril 1, 2014 

  • IF YOU GO

    Maker's Mark commemorative bottle signing

    What: Mark Stoops, Rob Samuels, Bill Thomason and Maker's Mark chairman emeritus Bill Samuels Jr. will sign already-purchased bottles. No bottles will be sold on site.

    When: 6:30-9 a.m. April 11

    Where: Keeneland Race Course, 4201 Versailles Rd.

    Procedure: To get your bottle signed, you will need to get a ticket for the signing. Tickets will be handed out at 10 p.m. April 10. Fans can begin lining up for the signing at 6 p.m. April 10 but once they have a ticket they can exit and return by 6:30 a.m. April 11. Participants must be 21 years or older to participate in the bottle signing. Camping overnight on April 10-11 is allowed. Restrooms will be available, and a concession stand will open.

    Learn more: For more details on the signing — what's OK and what isn't — go here.

  • At a glance

    Maker's Mark's Keeneland commemorative bottle have been around since 1997. Here's what each bottle looked like.

    1997: Clear bottle with dark green wax and a tan label featuring an embossed Keeneland horse logo

    1998: Clear bottle with dark green wax and dark green label featuring the Keeneland horse logo in gold foil

    1999: Clear bottle with gold wax and a tan label featuring the Keeneland horse logo in green foil

    2000: "Empty" bottle was dipped in dark green and gold wax and included a piece of paper inside explaining how Maker's Mark had run out of bourbon after a distillery fire in late 2000.

    2001: "Kentucky Basketball Legends" clear bottle with blue and white wax with label depicting a screaming wildcat

    2002: clear bottle with blue wax featuring famed UK basketball manager Bill Keightley

    2003: Triple Crown series black bottle with black wax featuring Secretariat

    2004: Triple Crown series frosted bottle with gold wax featuring Seattle Slew

    2005: Triple Crown series silver bottle with silver wax featuring Affirmed

    2006: frosted bottle with silver wax and label featuring "Rupp's Runts," the 1965-66 UK basketball team coached by Adolph Rupp

    2007: blue wax on clear bottle with label featuring the 1992 UK basketball team, aka "The Unforgettables," coached by Rick Pitino

    2008: blue bottle with blue wad featuring legendary UK coach Joe B. Hall

    2009: white bottle with blue wax featuring UK football coach Rich Brooks

    2010: frosted blue bottle with blue wax featuring UK basketball coach John Calipari.

    2011: clear bottle with gold wax and black label marking Keeneland's 75th anniversary

    2012: white bottle with silver wax featuring famed UK quarterback Tim Couch

    2013: frosted bottle with blue wax and a colorful label featuring UK basketball great Dan Issel

    2014: frosted black bottle with blue wax featuring UK football coach Mark Stoops

    SOURCE: Makersmark.com

Maker's Mark on Tuesday officially unveiled is latest commemorative bourbon bottle: an all-black version with blue wax featuring University of Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops doing the "Y" in K-E-N-T-U-C-K-Y at a home basketball game.

Only 10,000 of the limited-edition bottles will be sold, with a suggested retail price of $52. They go on sale Friday.

Proceeds from the bottles, which are traditionally associated with Keeneland's spring race meet where the distillery sponsors the Maker's 46 Mile, will benefit UK's Gill Heart Institute.

Stoops said he is glad to help. His father, Ron Stoops Sr., died in 1988 of a heart attack at the age of 54.

"I'm certainly honored to be on the label of this year's bottle, especially with the proceeds helping to bring ever-better cardiac care to the people of Kentucky," Stoops said in a statement. "I've been here long enough to appreciate both the significance of the Gill Heart Institute's work and the unique role this commemorative bottle plays to help support it. I'm deeply grateful to Keeneland and Maker's Mark for making this happen."

This is the third year that proceeds — about $500,000 over all three years — from the bottles will go to the institute.

"Since we wanted to continue supporting the Gill Heart Institute this year, Coach Stoops was an obvious choice to feature on the bottle," Rob Samuels, Maker's Mark COO, said in a news release. "He's bringing a new sense of excitement and anticipation to the UK football program, and coupling that with his sensitivity for cardiac care made it an easy call for him to be this year's honoree."

Dr. Michael Karpf, UK's executive vice president for health affairs, said, "Through the support of Coach Stoops, Maker's Mark and Keene-land, we are able to further advance a program that is critical to meeting the health care needs of Kentuckians."

Maker's Mark has partnered with Keeneland for commemorative bottles for 18 years, raising more than $7.1 million for various Central Kentucky charities.

"Keeneland is proud to be part of this extraordinary team, and to help support the vital work of the Gill Heart Institute," said Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason. "Coach Stoops' strong commitment to improving cardiac care in Kentucky and the fact that we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of Maker's Mark, combine to make this a very special commemorative bottle."

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