US. Maker’s Mark has announced that President Bill Samuels Jr will retire in April after 35 years leading the US bourbon whiskey brand. He will take the new role of Chairman Emeritus.
Bill Samuels Jr has helped transform Maker’s Mark into a lifestyle brand (Photo: beveragebusiness.com)
The seventh generation bourbon distiller will be handing over the reins to his son, Rob Samuels, who was appointed Chief Operating Officer of the family-run company in October 2010.
Rob Samuels will now lead the distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, which has been home to Maker’s Mark since it was purchased by his grandfather, Bill Samuels Sr, in 1953.
“My career has been an incredible journey,” Bill Samuels said. “A lot has changed in the spirits industry since we first started selling Maker’s Mark, but I’ve made sure all along that the way we craft our bourbon has remained the same as when we first started. Our heritage and craft is what makes us unique and ensures our quality.”
He continued: “Now that we’ve achieved the milestone of 1 million cases as a brand, it’s the perfect time to transition the day-to-day running of Maker’s Mark to Rob, who will carry on our family traditions. I look forward to taking on this new role and meeting with our brand fans in markets around the world.”
Together with his father, Bill Samuels Jr is said to have created the premium bourbon category. They helped transform Maker’s Mark bourbon into a lifestyle brand, the company said, thanks to its tongue-in-cheek advertising campaigns, its pioneering Brand Ambassador Programme and the distillery visitor experience.
“Bill Samuels has been instrumental in building Maker’s Mark into a successful global brand,” said Beam Global Australia Brand Director Trent Chapman.
“Australia is Maker’s Mark’s largest international market and experiencing a similar success. The Maker’s Mark brand is a major priority for Beam Global Australia which has resulted in both consumers and trade falling in love with the brand and its heritage. The Maker’s Mark story will continue to gain momentum in 2011,” Chapman added.
Maker’s Mark is said to be the oldest operating bourbon distillery in the world, producing quality bourbon for over half a century. Staying true to the formula created by Bill Samuels Sr in 1953, Maker’s Mark is a product made by hand in batches of only 19 barrels at a time.