Maker’s Mark Releases New Commemorative Bottle for Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund

The label illustration is the work of Louisville artist Jeaneen Barnhart, renowned for a large portfolio of equine art that includes several posters for the Kentucky Derby Festival which she designed with her twin sister, Doreen. Maker's Mark.

Maker’s Mark and Keeneland have teamed up for another limited edition bottle for a great cause, this time to raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

Each bottle has been signed by the five leading active stakes-winning riders at Keeneland (Julien Leparoux, Robby Albarado, John Velazquez, Javier Castellano and Mike Smith) in addition to Maker’s Mark Managing Director Rob Samuels and Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason.

“The people in the horse industry of Central Kentucky have played a big role in the history of Maker’s Mark,” says Rob Samuels, who is an eighth-generation whisky maker. “When my grandfather started Maker’s back in the 1950s, the horsemen supported him and helped spread the word that his bourbon was worth sharing. So, we’re honored to share something back in a meaningful way.”

“Jockeys are truly some of the best athletes in the world and put their lives on the line every time they mount a horse,” says PDJF President Nancy LaSala. “Because of this, we’re so thrilled that two of Kentucky’s great institutions – Keeneland and Maker’s Mark – have come together in such a creative way to help disabled jockeys who can ride no more.”

Jockeys sign Maker’s Mark labels for new release. Maker’s Mark.

“I’ve been involved with several Keeneland and Maker’s Mark bottles that raise funds for worthy causes,” says Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. “But this one really is where my heart is. Autographing a bottle is such a simple thing to do, and it’s great knowing that I’m playing a small role in helping other riders whose careers were cut short.”

“We are always gratified by the enthusiastic public response to the Maker’s Mark commemorative bottle, and we are so pleased sales this year will benefit the critical work of the PDJF,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “We thank our longstanding partner, Maker’s Mark, and Julien, Robby, John, Javier and Mike for their strong support.”

Previous Keeneland and Maker’s Mark commemorative bottles have included the popular Wildcat Series and more, often with fans waiting in lines stretching through the Keeneland property to get their bottles signed. All Maker’s Mark commemorative bottles are filled with the classic wheated 90 proof Maker’s bourbon.

The Maker’s Mark Commemorative release to help the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund will come pre-signed and be available in limited quantities around the state of Kentucky on Friday, July 3rd.

Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.