The 1995-96 UK men’s basketball championship team is the focus of the next Maker’s Mark bottle celebrating the University of Kentucky’s rich basketball history.
The white bottle features blue wax and a photo of players. It will be available Friday, and there will only be 13,000 bottles.
The cost of the bottles, found in liquor stores in Lexington and Louisville, will vary, as it is set by individual retailers. Last year’s bottles cost about $55.
The bottle is the third in a five-bottle series, benefiting the Center for Academic and Tutorial Services, a program that helps student athletes at UK. The goal is to eventually raise $2 million over five years through bottle sales, along with money from Maker’s Mark and Keeneland. Last fall, the bottles helped fund a CATS expansion in the Joe Craft Football Training Facility.
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The first bottle featured Basketball Hall of Fame coach Adolph Rupp, and the second one featured coach Joe B. Hall cutting the net for the 1978 championship team. The other two bottles will be released in 2018 and 2019 and will honor the 1998 and 2012 championship teams, coached by Tubby Smith and John Calipari, respectively.
There will be an autograph session at the Keeneland Entertainment Center beginning at 6 a.m. April 14, featuring players from the 1996 UK championship team, including Cameron Mills, Derek Anderson, Jeff Sheppard and Jared Prickett. The bottles must be bought in advance. No bottles will be available at Keeneland, and bottle-signing attendees must have a ticket.