SIDNEY FRANK AWARD
The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America honored Maker’s Mark Distillery President BILL SAMUELS JR. with its prestigious Sidney Frank Award at the its 68th Annual Convention & Exposition in Orlando. The Award is presented to a person who has achieved noteworthy public policy or philanthropic accomplishments, as well as made exceptional contributions to the beverage alcohol industry. A $1O,OOO contribution is made in the name of the award winner to the charitable cause of his or her choosing. Bellarmine College in Louisville, Kentucky will receive the contribution in Samuels’ name. WSWA incoming Chairman Robert Harmelin presented Samuels with the Award during the convention’s opening General Session. Samuels is the seventh generation in a long line of bourbon makers – and his bourbon is Maker’s Mark. He took over the family business from his father, Bill Samuels Sr., the man who invented the Maker’s Mark recipe and the premium bourbon category. Among his many philanthropic contributions, Samuels serves as Chairman of both the Ohio River Bridges Coalition and the Bellarmine University $1OO Million Capital Campaign. He is also on the Board of Trustees for Jewish Hospital, Louisville Chamber of Commerce and Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.
Samuels’ family pioneered “small batch” bourbons before most knew about the category. Although his formal training was in science and design, he entered the beverage business and became a self-taught marketing maven. He personally promoted Maker’s Mark throughout the country and oversaw the creation and production of the brand’s clever “tongue in cheek” ads.