Maker's Mark Distillery, Inc., the Kentucky straight bourbon whisky manufacturer, was awarded Whisky Magazine's 2008 Icons of Whisky Award for the "Visitor Attraction of the Year" at a London celebration last night. The continued commitment of Maker's Mark to the experience of its guests and the preservation of its distillery, as showcased in the September 2007 unveiling of a new $2.5 million Visitors' Center, were driving factors in the brand's receipt of the award.
As one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky's most popular tourist destinations, Maker's Mark attracts more than 70,000 visitors each year. This growth prompted the decision to revitalize the distillery and enhance the value offered to guests, while never deviating from the legendary bourbon brand's dedication to handcrafted excellence.
"We are honored to receive the award for 'Visitor Attraction of the Year' from Whisky Magazine. The new enhancements to our visitor experience were a vision many years in the making and I am thrilled to see them take shape," said Dave Pickerell, master distiller, Maker's Mark, who was in attendance to accept the award. "Our distillery is an ever increasing tourist attraction and we are committed to always providing a memorable and unique experience for our guests who want to learn more about the unique heritage and production process behind Maker's Mark."
The recent interactive and engaging enhancements to the Maker's Mark Visitors' Center include:
- A state-of-the-art audio visual display in the Bottling House which provides visitors with a close-up demonstration of filling, capping, labeling, and dipping operations.
- A modern Guest Relations Center located inside a century-old rack house, complete with a tasting bar, gift shop, private training room, and wax pots allowing guests to dip their own bottles in the signature red wax.
- The Samuels Family Distiller's Home featuring an exact replica of Margie Samuels' kitchen-laboratory, T.W. Samuels' office-study, and an interactive family library full of family photos and memorabilia.
- A commemorative charity wall located in the Label Printing Room, where every label is still hand-cut for perfection, showcasing nine specialty bottles which raised over 5.4 million dollars for charitable causes over the past 14 years.
Over the past 12 years, Maker's Mark has helped fuel growth of the super-premium bourbon category and has achieved double-digit growth while ensuring that every step of the bourbon making process occurs at the distillery in the same traditional method that continually defines the brand. All Maker's Mark bourbon is produced in small batches, every label cut by press and each bottle is hand-dipped to ensure craftsmanship and care in every sip.
The first distillery to be declared a National Historic Landmark, Maker's Mark is also an eco-conscious distillery that continuously practices environmental responsibility through recycling, reduction of air and water emissions, minimized energy usage and the re-use of spent grain and water after production. Maker's Mark stands true to the belief that they are stewards of the environment. Much of their 620 acres of land is managed as a nature reserve, with fish, turtles, crawdads and other aquatic life permanently inhabiting the stream. An arboretum of 356 different plant and tree species also populates the land, boasting many Kentucky native species.
Whisky Magazine's 2008 Icons of Whisky Awards mark a highlight in the whisky calendar and are designed to celebrate the people and places behind the greatest whiskies in the world. Companies nominate themselves in the various categories and are selected by an independent editorial panel. This year's judging process included regional heats in the United States, Canada, Ireland and Scotland.