People were lined up outside Lexington liquor stores Friday morning to get Maker's Mark's newest commemorative bottle featuring legendary University of Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp.
But those looking for the bottle at Big Daddy's Liquor Store on Woodland Avenue after the store's 10:30 a.m. opening were out of luck, because the store opened about 10 minutes early. They had sold out of all 24 bottles in those 10 minutes.
"Every other year, people in line at 9 a.m. were able to get bottles, but not this year," said Roger Leasor, director of community and government relations for Liquor Barn.
The Liquor Barn store in Beaumont reportedly had 264 bottles and was sold out in about 20 minutes. As general manager Jeanette Johns left the Beaumont store at 5 p.m. Thursday, five people were already in line for the bottles, which would not go on sale until the next morning.
Leasor said the fondness for the subject matter is why the bottles sold so quickly.
"Adolph Rupp is a big part of people's youth," he said, and with the Final Four game on Saturday, "excitement is running so very high, and everyone is looking to be a part of it." The Adolph Rupp bottles give them this chance.
The bottle is the first in a five-year campaign to raise $4 million for the University of Kentucky Center for Academic and Tutorial Services, a support program for student athletes. The center, in Memorial Coliseum, is to be expanded, with an additional site in the new football training complex next to Commonwealth Stadium.
The money will be raised through contributions from Maker's Mark and Keeneland, which will host the annual bottle signing at 8 a.m. April 10 at the spring race meet's Maker's 46 Mile, and through sales of bottles with the limited-edition commemorative labels.
An autograph session will feature four of Rupp's All American players who are in the Naismith Hall of Fame: Cliff Hagan, Dan Issel, Frank Ramsey, and Adrian "Odie" Smith. In addition, Bill Samuels Jr. and Rob Samuels from Maker's Mark will be there, along with Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomason.