Maker’s Mark Releases UK Basketball Commemorative Bottle Honoring the 1996 Championship Team

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It’s officially springtime in the Bluegrass State. Not only was this past weekend the opening of Keeneland for the spring meet, but on Friday, April 7, Maker’s Mark released a commemorative bottle that featured the University of Kentucky’s 1996 championship team, affectionately known as the “Untouchables.” Of course, when I heard about it, I had to go stand in line!

“Our ’96 championship team was one of the best not only in the history of our program, but in the history of college basketball. This iconic bottle is a fitting tribute to them and all they accomplished during that historic season.” -UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart

The weather is pretty unpredictable in Kentucky. Just a few days prior, it was in the 70s, and on this particular morning, it was 37 degrees with a “feels like” temperature of 30 degrees (as I am writing this, it’s back in the mid 70s). I severely underestimated how cold it actually was, so I was ridiculously unprepared. I didn’t have any gloves, a scarf, a chair, or even a blanket with me. However, when I got there, the guy next to me went to his car and got me a blanket, so I could keep warm. When someone got in line behind me, he also went to his car to get a blanket for me to sit on. Waiting in line may sound crazy to some, but it isn’t just about getting a collector’s bottle or a rare bourbon, but it’s about the experience. You meet some of the nicest people! Of course they are nice, because they are Kentuckians (it’s that Southern hospitality) and they are bourbon people! I’m telling you some of the best people you’ll ever meet are bourbon people!

There were only 13,000 bottles released, and they sold out in less than an hour! I stood in line about 3.5 hours before the store that I went to opened. By the time I got there, there were approximately thirty people in front of me, maybe forty, if I had to guess. Some people had gotten there on Thursday to wait in line. Several of the local news stations were there, and I even saw myself on the news in the background.

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