Maker’s Mark Distillery tapped artist Aaron Kizer to create portraits of each of the company’s four original founders for a limited series of bottles that will be released this Saturday. Kizer will also be at the distillery this weekend to sign bottles and hand-paint 50 of the Margie Samuels Founders’ Series labels in celebration of International Women’s Day.
Kizer was first selected to do a portrait of Samuel after a Maker’s Mark employee attended one of the local artist’s live shows. Kizer said he was excited to see the recent project and partnership come to fruition after years in the making.
“My live paints have been at the distillery for five years,” he said. “They asked me to paint the other three [founders]. These bottles have been in the making for three-plus years.”
Though Kizer has had experience in seeing his artwork widely released — he once did the artwork for an album cover that sold more than 600,000 copies — he said the experience of having his paintings etched onto the labels of the famous bourbon bottles was a profound moment in his career thus far.
“For me, the epitome of ever producing anything that could be on a Maker’s Mark bottle was my dream and aspiration,” he said. “There are very few painters who ever get their work on a bottle.”
Kizer will get to take his first in-person look at the bottles today when he makes his first trip to Loretto to pick up a batch that he’ll hand-paint and sign from home.
Though Kizer said he’s received messages from people in other cities who plan to make this weekend’s trip to pick up a hand-painted bottle, he said it would mean a lot to him to see some people from Owensboro in the audience.
“How cool would it be if that place was packed with people from Owensboro?” he said. “For anybody that’s ever wanted to own one of the originals, that’s a great way to own one.”
The distillery plans to sell the hand-painted bottles for $175 each. A significant percentage of the bottles’ profits will be donated to female entrepreneurs of color in the area.
Maker’s Mark distillery will open at 10 a.m. Saturday, and Kizer will be there at 11:30 a.m.