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Rob Samuels is proving to be one tough boss.
Now that his father, Bill Samuels, Jr., has become Chairman Emeritus of Maker’s Mark, one of Rob’s first assignments for his dad is to sign autographs - 18,000 of them. But at least it’s for a good cause.
With this year’s transition of leadership at Maker’s Mark from Bill to Rob, a special bottle commemorating three generations of the Samuels family will go on sale in this month with proceeds benefiting 21st Century Parks in Louisville and the Habitat for Humanity affiliate in central Kentucky. The label of the bottle features Bill Samuels, Sr., who put up the brand’s first barrels in 1954; Bill Jr., who took over in 1975; and Rob, who assumed the role of chief operating officer earlier this year.
Since the Samuels family has remained stubbornly committed to hand-making their bourbon, Rob thought it would be a nice touch to hand-sign the labels for this special bottle, signifying that the family’s attention to hand-crafting continues unchanged into the next generation. The Samuels have signed limited numbers of bottles in the past, but never an entire run of a commemorative bottle. And 18,000 - that’s a lot of labels to sign.
“I thought becoming Chairman Emeritus meant I really wouldn’t have very much to do,” said Bill, “but have you ever seen a stack of 18,000 of anything? Rob signed them, too, so at least I’ve had company in the writer’s cramp department.”
Proceeds from the sale of the commemorative bottles will benefit two causes with far-reaching visions.
21st Century Parks is a Kentucky-based private, non-profit corporation, created in 2005 to bring a fresh vision to the preservation and development of new public parklands. The organization’s current project is The Parklands of Floyds Fork, an ambitious plan for southern and eastern Jefferson County to create one of the largest new urban park systems in the nation.
Habitat for Humanity creates stronger communities by providing quality housing for deserving people who may not, otherwise, be able to afford their own home. The affiliate in central Kentucky, My New Kentucky Home Habitat for Humanity, plans to build a house in Marion County in 2012 using money donated by Maker’s Mark as well as a crew of volunteers from the distillery.
The special bottles are expected to be on store shelves in Kentucky by late August.