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Local artist immortalizes co-founder’s image on Maker’s Mark bottles

June 6, 2019 | 3:12 am

Updated June 5, 2019 | 11:15 pm

Co-founder of the legendary bourbon, Margie Samuels made such an impact on the timeless brand, that homage is being paid even today in honor of her contributions. | Photo courtesy of Aaron Kizer

It has been said that behind every great man, is an even greater woman. Kentucky-based, born and bred, Maker’s Mark is evidence that this theory is indeed perhaps true.

Co-founder of the legendary bourbon, Margie Samuels made such an impact on the timeless brand, that homage is being paid even today in honor of her contributions.

Owensboro artist and performance painter, Aaron Kizer has painted a plethora of influential public figures over the years. Samuels being one.

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“What many don’t realize is Margie was responsible for the trademark wax on each Maker’s Mark bottle,” Kizer said. “Her influence on the brand is one that is now synonymous with traditional Kentucky bourbon.”

A true innovator, Margie Samuels, the wife of founder Bill Samuels Sr, left her “mark” on the label by designing a sleek bottle and hand dipping each in wax. History tells us she used a “home fryer” to melt the wax in her kitchen.

The first woman to be inducted into The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame, Samuels ensured that no two bottles of Maker’s Mark look the same, regardless of identical taste.

Capturing her iconic spirit Aaron Kizer painted Samuels in such a way that Maker’s Mark felt led to display the work at their Bardstown distillery. The painting is housed in the area where tours conclude and guests dip their own bottle in wax before departing.

“When Maker’s Mark contacted me I was ecstatic,” Kizer said. “Margie is an icon, just a really neat lady within the company’s history.”

Given the painting was such a success, it only seemed fitting that Maker’s introduce the label for International Women’s Day and place it on the bottles of bourbon Margie Samuels adored.

“It honestly was just a great way to tie the two events in together,” Kizer said. “It was the perfect opportunity to honor Margie and other influential women.”

The first limited bottles of the series honoring Margie Samuels have been set aside as time capsules to stow away items to be opened at a later date and were sealed. A re-release of the limited bottles are set to be available for purchase in early 2020.

“It’s just a surreal feeling to be a part of something steeped in tradition,” Kizer said. “Every Kentuckian should tour the bottling facility in Bardstown and witness the process first hand.”

Kizer hopes to only further his artistic endeavors as 2019 progresses, with an upcoming event, “Broken Art” set for June 21st at the Owensboro Convention Center. Doors will open at 7:00 p.m. and tickets are on sale now.

June 6, 2019 | 3:12 am

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