(Loretto, KY) March 27, 2014 – Maker’s Mark®, the pioneer of handcrafted bourbon, is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Bourbon Revolution by paying tribute to the vision of the founders of Maker’s Mark® bourbon, Bill Samuels, Sr., and his wife Margie Samuels, with the unveiling of an original artwork, The Spirit of the Maker. Created especially for Maker’s Mark by renowned artist, Dale Chihuly, it is the first of Chihuly’s work to be on public display in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Spirit of the Maker will be on permanent view at the Maker’s Mark Distillery beginning March 27.
The Spirit of the Maker is not just an extraordinary work of art, but a symbol and an homage to the vision and spirit of Bill Samuels, Sr. Sixty years ago, Bill had a dream to create a bourbon that, for the first time, tasted good and was in good taste and would not “blow your ears off,” the measure by which bourbons were judged at the time. What he wanted to do more than anything else was create a bourbon that would redefine and transcend the industry by appealing to bourbon and non-bourbon drinkers alike, so he burned the 170-year-old Samuels family recipe and introduced Maker’s Mark. Unknowingly and unintentionally, Bill Samuels, Sr.’s handcrafted creation served as the shot that started a Bourbon Revolution, transforming bourbon from a “commodity” to a premium handcrafted spirit, and giving rise to the modern era of bourbon.
Spectacular in appearance and scope, The Spirit of the Maker salutes those who have pioneered and redefined genres, refusing to be constrained by convention. The installation, made entirely of hand-blown glass elements, is a remarkable kaleidoscope of colors, shapes and forms. Visuals include deep browns and vibrant ambers emblematic of the Kentucky whisky, crystal blues reflective of the water from the Distillery’s limestone spring-fed lake, as well as and rich crimsons and reds evocative of the signature red wax that has become an international symbol associated uniquely with Maker’s Mark® bourbon.
“We wanted to further enhance the distillery experience for all visitors by offering something that was distinctive to any distillery anywhere in the world,” noted Maker’s Mark Chief Operating Officer Rob Samuels. “Dale, much like my grandfather, Bill Samuels, Sr., is an innovator who also revolutionized a genre: the art of glass blowing. We knew he was the perfect partner.”
Said Dale Chihuly, “I’m very excited about creating a unique installation at the Maker’s Mark Distillery, one of the most beautiful and historic landmarks in the country, in celebration of their 60th anniversary.”
Maker’s Mark is also in the final stages of completing a permanent exhibition of historic artifacts at the Distillery, which will include the original pot still that Bill Samuels, Sr., used to handcraft the first small batch of Maker’s Mark®, the first Maker’s Mark barrel ever made, and an exact replica of the original papier-mâché bottle designed by Margie Samuels. Margie is also responsible for creating the Maker’s Mark® name, label, font and iconic red wax that each bottle is still hand dipped in today, making every bottle unique.
Maker’s Mark recently announced the addition of a third still at its facility in Loretto, Kentucky, which will be totally identical in equipment, operation and inefficient process to that which exists today and to that which existed sixty years ago when Maker’s Mark® was first crafted. The third still, which will begin construction in April of this year and be completed in the summer of 2015, will enable Maker’s Mark to increase production capacity by fifty percent. Additional enhancements have been planned in order to continue enhancing the visitor experience in anticipation of more than doubling the number of guests to the Distillery over the next decade.
The viewing of The Spirit of the Maker and the Maker’s Mark historical artifacts will be available during regular operating hours, Monday through Saturday from 9:30am-3:30pm and Sundays from 11:30am-3:30pm. For additional information please visit the Maker’s Mark website at www.makersmark.com or contact the distillery Visitor Center at 270-865-2099.
About Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
In 1954, at a small Victorian distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, Bill Samuels, Sr., fulfilled his dream to create a pioneering handmade bourbon that, for the first time, would appeal both to bourbon and to non-bourbon drinkers alike, that tasted good and exemplified good taste, and wouldn’t “blow your ears off,” the measure by which bourbons were judged at the time. He decided to make his whisky in small-batches of 19 barrels, developed a proprietary barrel char to enhance the softness and sweetness of his whisky, and then rotated each barrel by hand to ensure exposure to consistent temperatures throughout the warehouse, and, ultimately, he aged each barrel to taste. Bill Samuels, Sr., unknowingly and unintentionally, fired the shot that started the Bourbon Revolution, and transformed bourbon from a “commodity” into a premium handcrafted spirit, giving rise to the modern era of bourbon. Today, Maker’s Mark continues to hand make its bourbon exactly the same way Bill Samuels, Sr., did 60 years ago, in small batches by skilled craftsmen who hand-cut each label and hand-dip each bottle. In 2010, in tribute to his father’s spirit of innovation Bill Samuels, Jr., unveiled Maker’s 46®, a totally new bourbon that reflects the distinct character of Maker’s Mark® but has a bigger, bolder and complex taste without any hint of bitterness. Maker’s Mark® bourbon whisky (45% alc./vol.) and Maker’s 46® (47% alc./vol.) are distilled, aged and bottled by the Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc., in Loretto, Kentucky. In 1980, the distillery was designated a National Historic Landmark, becoming the first distillery in America to be so recognized, and has also been decreed as the "world’s oldest operating bourbon whisky distillery” by Guinness World Records®. The Maker’s Mark Distillery is one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. For more information, please visit the Maker’s Mark® website (www.makersmark.com)
Dale Chihuly is credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the perception of the glass medium from the realm of craft to fine art. He is renowned for his ambitious architectural installations around the world, in historic cities, museums and gardens. Dale Chihuly’s work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Corning Museum of Glass. Major exhibitions include Chihuly Over Venice (1995-96), Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem (1999), Garden Cycle (2001–present), de Young Museum in San Francisco (2008), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2011), Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (2012) and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada (2013.) Chihuly Garden and Glass opened at Seattle Center in 2012. For more information, visit chihuly.com, Facebook.com/chihuly and @ChihulyStudio