Maker’s Mark Founders

Maker's Mark is the fifth most popular a brand of bourbon whiskey in the world. The Maker's Mark Distillery is located in Loretto, Kentucky and produces 6 brands, labels and variations of Bourbon.  Maker's Mark is owned by Beam Suntory, Inc. Maker’s Mark dates back to 1958 but its history revolves around one family long, long before that. The Samuels family is indelibly weaved through out the brand’s very being.

. . "Founder of Maker's"

. . "Founder of Maker's"

Bill Samuels, Sr.

Bill Samuels, Sr. burned up the 170 year-old family recipe and almost the living room as well in the 1950's. He then experimented with many recipes but did not have the time to distill them, barrel them, age them and then taste them years later. So he asked his wife, Margaret to bake seven different mash bill recipes in seven loaves of bread and had his family try each. What they settled on was corn with a soft red winter wheat to make their new bourbon.


Steve Small.JPG

Steve Nally

Master Distiller at Maker’s Mark for over 33 years, now at the Bardstown Bourbon Company.


. . Arrested Jesse James

. . Arrested Jesse James

T. W. Samuels

T. W. Samuels opened his first distillery in Deatsville, Kentucky in 1844.  Known for it’s unique stair step designed rack houses, it had greater chimney effect forcing more heat to the top floors.  T.W. Samuels grandson went on to start a little bourbon called Maker’s Mark. In addition to distilling, Samuels was also the Nelson County Kentucky High Sheriff. T. W. convinced many confederate soldiers including Jessie and Frank James to surrender their weapons and give themselves up.


Margie: Marketing Mastermind

Margie: Marketing Mastermind

Margaret Samuels

They say, that Margie is the reason most folks buy their first bottle of Maker's Mark and Bill, Sr is the reason they buy their second bottle. The shape of the bottle, look of the label, the signature red wax topper and even the name itself are all thanks to Margie. In 1953, Margie Samuels collaborated with her husband on a new kind of bourbon. She baked seven loaves of bread with a variety of alternative grains, and the whole family blind-tasted the breads and then decided on the soft red winter wheat.


. A Showman’s showman

. A Showman’s showman

Bill Samuels, Jr.

Bill Samuels, Jr. was the the son of Maker’s founder Bill, Sr. and Margie. When Jr. was inheriting the helm at Maker’s upon his father’s retirement, his parting words that to his son was, “Don't screw up the Whisky." So when Jr took over as the President at Maker’s Mark, he honored his fathers request but wish, but did it his own way. It was Bill, Jr. that created the first-of-its-kind Ambassador program that allows Maker's Mark's biggest fans to feel like part of the family. Then just prior to his retirement, Bill, Jr., made his Maker’s Mark on the family legacy in 2010 with the introduction of Maker's 46, the company's first brand in over 50 years.