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.
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"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."