Oldham County Historical Society Gala
Center to honor Samuels
at 2012 fundraising event
family founded the
Makers Mark Distillery in Loretto
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (September 2012) The first
thing that comes to mind when one thinks of the name, Bill Samuels Jr.,
is Makers Mark bourbon whiskey. But Samuels Jr. is just as involved
in the history of Oldham County as he is in the bourbon industry his
family established decades ago in Loretto, Ky.
Samuels Jr. and his wife, Nancy, are Oldham County residents. He has
supported the Oldham County History Center in years past and done much
to preserve the states rich heritage, one in which his family
has firmly planted roots.
County Historical Society Gala
Friday, Sept. 28 with 6:30 p.m. reception; 7:30 p.m. dinner at
the Oldham County History Center, 106 N. Second Ave., La Grange,
Tickets $125 per person. To reserve, call (502) 222-0826
His family began distilling whiskey in 1783 when his ancestor,
Robert Samuels, produced whiskey for personal use and for friends. In
1840, another ancestor, T.W. Samuels, built the first commercial distillery
at Samuels Depot. Bill Samuels Sr. signed the deed to what would become
Makers Mark Distillery in 1953. This was after he had burned the
170-year-old family recipe and started again from scratch.
Samuels Sr.s reasoning for burning the recipe had been so that
he could take the bitterness out of the new brand of bourbon he established.
Other distilleries soon followed suit.
Samuels Jr. took over Makers Mark in the mid-1970s after his father
sternly warned him, Dont screw up the whiskey. He
had learned much of the distillery business not from his father
but from another whiskey familys member Jack Daniels
great nephew, Hap Motlow.
Samuels Jr. possessed a unique personality and had a knack for marketing
in a nonconventional way one that helped his product succeed
to the status of producing a million cases annually.
Mr. Samuels Jr. has made special efforts to preserve Kentuckys
history and devoted much of his life to promoting Kentucky in the national
tourism market, said Nancy Stearns Theiss, executive director
of the Oldham County History Center. This is just one of the reasons
Samuels Jr. will receive the J. Chilton Barnett Champion of Oldham County
History award on Sept. 28.
The award will be presented during the Oldham County Historical Societys
11th annual Gala and Awards Ceremony. This years theme, The Bootleggers
Ball, reflects the current exhibit, Bottoms Up: The J. Chilton
Barnett Whiskey Jug Collection.
The Gala is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. and take place
on the grounds of the History Center in La Grange. A reception with
an open bar will kick off the evening, followed by the award presentation,
catered dinner by Ladyfingers, live music, and silent and live auctions.
Richard Beard of Beards Outdoor Power Equipment is the Honorary
Co-Chair of the Gala.
Duane Murner, a member of the Oldham County Historical Society Board
of Directors, said Samuels Jr. is probably one of our most famous
residents in Oldham County. He is devoted to Oldham County and to history.
In addition to making a couple of appearances before the historical
society, Murner said Samuels Jr. has been a vocal advocate on
our behalf and a big supporter. Samuels Jr. was Honorary Co-Chair
of the gala several years ago.
The annual Gala provides almost one-third of the Historical Societys
total operating budget, making it an important fundraising event. Numerous
sponsors make this event possible.
Tickets for the Gala are $125 per person. To
make reservations or for more information contact the Oldham County
History Center at (502) 222-0826 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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