The all-white Adolph Rupp bottle of Maker’s Mark, which will go on sale Friday, was formally unveiled Wednesday.
The bottles will be signed April 10 at Keeneland with a truly all-star line-up of Kentucky basketball greats: Cliff Hagan, Dan Issel, Frank Ramsey and Adrian "Odie" Smith.
Dipped in Kentucky blue wax, the bottle has a ribbon with Rupp’s championship years draped over the wax. The initials "UK" are pressed into the wax seal.
The label features a picture of the legendary coach, who was known to like bourbon. The years on the ribbon: 1948, 1949, 1951 and 1958.
This bottle will be the first in a series to raise money for a $4 million expansion of the Center for Academic and Tutorial Services for athletes at the University of Kentucky.
The four All-American players, who are also in the Naismith Hall of Fame, will be joined by Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomason and Maker’s Mark’s Bill Samuels and Rob Samuels to sign the bottles, which must be purchased in advance elsewhere.
Keeneland will have a special procedure for the traditional autograph session. This year’s event will be at the Keene Barn. Fans will have to get a ticket to the signing, available for free beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday. Fans may leave and return as long as they are in line when the signing begins at 8 a.m. April 10, the day of the Maker’s Mark 46 Mile at the racetrack.
While sales of the bottles over the next five years will raise some of the money, Keeneland also is contributing $20,000 a year for five years and challenging other businesses and organizations to match the contribution.
The campaign will build a tutoring center in the new football training complex next to the renovated Commonwealth Stadium, according to UK.
For 18 years, Maker’s Mark has partnered with Keeneland for commemorative bottles, raising more than $7.1 million for Central Kentucky charities.