Bill Samuels, Jr., who has helmed the Maker’s Mark Bourbon brand for 35 years and the seventh generation to run the family business, will retire on April 15, taking on the new role of chairman emeritus for the brand known for its iconic red wax-capped bottles.
Samuels, 70, will be handing the reins over to his 36-year-old son Rob Samuels, who was appointed chief operating officer in October 2010. The Loretto, Kentucky-based Bourbon distillery is part of Beam Global Spirits & Wine.
“Bill Samuels reinvented the way Bourbon was marketed at a time when the industry needed it most,” said Matthew J. Shattock, president and chief executive officer of Beam Global Spirits & Wine. “He forever changed the Bourbon industry while building Maker’s Mark into a global brand and staying true to his family’s commitment to handcraftsmanship.”
Last summer, Bill Samuels introduced what may become one of his most defining contributions—Maker’s 46, the first new Bourbon from the Maker’s Mark Distillery in 52 years.
“A lot has changed in the spirits industry since we first started selling Maker’s Mark,” said Mr. Samuels. “My career has been an incredible journey and, over the last 43 years, I have always stayed true to my fundamental belief that the most successful way to build Maker’s Mark is one brand fan at a time and to let brand fans become our most influential advocates.”