Marjorie Samuels

Maker’s Mark is honoring its co-founder, Marjorie Samuels, with the opening of a special permanent vestibule at the distillery in Loretto, Ky.

Built to showcase Margie’s indelible influence on Maker’s Mark, The Margie Vestibule showcases the brand’s heritage and origin story which begins, surprisingly, with Margie’s remarkable pewter collection. A noted collector of fine English pewter, Margie knew the “maker’s mark” was a symbol of handcrafted quality. Inspired by this hallmark, she suggested the name Maker’s Mark to her husband Bill Samuels, with whom she co-founded the brand in 1953. The vestibule further illustrates the brand’s journey in a beautiful stained-glass window created by famed New Jersey-based stained-glass artist Neile Cooper, a favorite artist of Rob Samuels, grandson of the founders, 8th Generation Whisky Maker & Managing Director.

While Bill developed the smooth-tasting, wheat-based Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Margie came up with the name, the shape of the bottle and the iconic look that involves dipping each bottle in red wax. She also designed the label and even the unique font that bears the Maker’s Mark name. Margie worked to instill a culture of hospitality at the distillery based on the notion that it should be a welcoming place she would be proud of for her friends to visit. This August, The Margie Vestibule becomes a part of the regular distillery tour at Star Hill Farm in Loretto and the distillery is one of the state’s largest tourist attractions with hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Her own collection of historic pewter is on display within the new vestibule in handmade cabinetry constructed conspicuously of oak, the same wood used for bourbon barrels by renowned woodworkers and artisans Leah Frankl and Chris Lange of Lumber & Light, based in Washington, D.C. The surrounding two all-glass walls featuring original stained glass by Cooper, highlight colorful images from the surrounding landscape ranging from birds, butterflies and native grasses to the ingredients used in the making of bourbon including corn, wheat, water and oak.

This special artwork brings visitors on a visual journey through all the elements that so inspired the vestibule’s namesake. Finally, the new exhibit would not be complete without a portrait of Margie herself, painted by Kentucky artist Honora Jacob who is known for her portraits of inspiring women. The foundation of the painting is a historic photo of Margie, which the artist filled with color and imagery such as vanilla blossoms (a nod to the flavor notes found in Maker’s Mark) to tulips, which Margie grew in her garden.

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