Home » Chairman Emeritus of Maker’s Mark to be presented GLI’s Gold Cup

Chairman Emeritus of Maker’s Mark to be presented GLI’s Gold Cup

It will be the first Gold Cup presented since 2014


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 14, 2017) – Greater Louisville Inc. has announced it will present the prestigious Gold Cup to Bill Samuels Jr., formerly of Maker’s Mark.

Mr. Samuels is a well-known and distinguished member of the community’s business leadership.  Through his work as Chairman Emeritus of Marker’s Mark, he gained a reputation as a visionary leader with an entrepreneurial spirit. He grew up Bardstown, Ky., as a sixth generation distiller, but struck out on his own early on, earning a degree in engineering physics and working on both the Gemini and Polaris missiles. After earning a law degree from Vanderbilt University, he returned to his hometown and took the helm of his family business, Maker’s Mark.  He is credited with turning Maker’s Mark into an internationally-recognized brand and inventing Maker’s 46.

“His commitment and passion make him a true champion for this community,” said Kent Oyler, GLI president and chief executive officer. “The committee has selected a living legend who continues to strive for greatness in all his endeavors both in business and in his charitable work.”

Mr. Samuels has chaired over 25 different non-profit boards, including Greater Louisville Inc. in 2006. He has been recognized as Kentucky’s Entrepreneur of the Year three times, Louisville’s Citizen of the Year in 2004, and inducted into the Kentucky Business Hall of Fame in 2006, among many other accolades.

Created in 1969, Greater Louisville Inc.’s most prestigious award has been bestowed in honor of lifetime community service and leadership only 21 times.  The Gold Cup Award identifies, recognizes and encourages individual action and leadership in making the Greater Louisville area a better place to live and work.  And, unlike some awards, the Gold Cup is not automatically presented each year, but is awarded periodically in recognition of truly extraordinary contributions.  Previous Gold Cup recipients provide guidance throughout the selection process and have confirmed his nomination unanimously.

Sam Swope was most recently honored posthumously with the Gold Cup in 2014.  Other past winners include Barry Bingham Sr., David Jones Sr., C. Edward Glasscock, and Christy and Owsley Brown.

The Gold Cup will be presented to Mr. Samuels during GLI’s 2018 Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting, presented by Hilliard Lyons, will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at the Louisville Palace Theatre located at 625 S 4th Street in Louisville.  As previously announced, delivering this year’s keynote will be Ben Breier, president & chief executive officer of Kindred Healthcare.