Maker’s Mark Distillery announces leadership advancements

LORETTO, Ky. – Maker’s Mark, the iconic and pioneering handmade crafted bourbon whisky, has announced that several members of its distillery leadership team are taking on critical new roles within the Beam Suntory organization, and a former colleague is rejoining the distillery in a leadership position. The announcement was made today by Rob Samuels, global general manager & chief distillery officer of Maker’s Mark.

Victoria MacRae-Samuels, currently vice president of operations and plant manager at Maker’s Mark, will be relocating to the Global Innovation Center in Clermont, Ky., to take on the important position of senior director, global quality for Beam Suntory. MacRae-Samuels, who joined Jim Beam in 1989, became director of operations at the Maker’s Mark Distillery in 2008 and, shortly thereafter in 2010, was promoted to vice president of operations, becoming the only woman to hold such position in the spirits industry. An exceptional leader committed to operational excellence, MacRae-Samuels won several major industry awards and was twice named Distillery Manager of the Year by Whisky Magazine.

Greg Davis, the current master distiller at Maker’s Mark, will be taking on a new role as director of distillation at Jim Beam’s Clermont and Boston, Ky., plants, where he will focus his extensive skill and expansive knowledge on Jim Beam and The Small Batch Bourbon Collection. Since joining the Maker’s Mark Distillery in 2010, Davis made major accomplishments and achieved great success, managing and overseeing the growth and expansion of the distillery, including the development, installation and operation of the third still in 2015.

The new master distiller and general manager at Maker’s Mark is Denny Potter, formerly of Heaven Hill. The move serves as a homecoming for Potter who spent seven years at Maker’s Mark before being named vice president of operations at Heaven Hill, where he has been master distiller and VP of operations since 2013. He is a distinguished and well-respected industry professional, with exceptional leadership skills, operational proficiency and technical expertise.

“Victoria and Greg will be truly missed, and I am sincerely grateful for their outstanding and consequential contribution,” said Samuels. “Victoria and Greg are both moving on to very important and meaningful positions that are ideally suited to their exceptional skills and expertise, and I wish them great success in their new roles.” Continued Samuels, “I am thrilled to welcome Denny back to the Maker’s Mark Distillery. He will be instrumental in maintaining and preserving the way we handcraft our bourbon, the quality of our whisky and our ongoing commitment to best practices and conservation at the distillery.”

“I am gratified and humbled to be rejoining the Maker’s Mark Distillery team,” said Potter. “I am forever indebted to the Shapira family for the opportunity to build on the Heaven Hill legacy of distilling. It has always been a dream of mine to be a master distiller and a part of our industry’s rich heritage, and now, I have the honor and privilege of returning to Maker’s Mark as an ambassador and established leader for the organization. I could not be more appreciative nor more grateful to Rob for giving me this opportunity.”

Jane Bowie, who has been with Maker’s Mark for over a decade, has been promoted from distillery maturation specialist to director of private select and diplomat program. Bowie began her career as the first-ever international diplomat and market specialist for Maker’s Mark, playing an instrumental role in the cultivation and development of the brand in Asia, Europe and South America, with a special emphasis on the United Kingdom. As director of private select, Bowie will lead and continue to champion one of the industry’s most innovative programs, the Maker’s Mark Private Select Experience, as well as oversee the expanding diplomat program, which is a key strategic mandate for the brand.

“We’re always looking for ways we can provide growth and development opportunities for our team members at Maker’s,” said Samuels. “These leadership promotions and staff advancements, which will take place on October 1st, will benefit not only those involved, but everyone at the Maker’s Mark Distillery and throughout the broader organization.”

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