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Maker’s Mark and Keeneland honoring UK legend Dan Issel

Keeneland and Maker’s Mark have announced that the 17th edition of its signature charitable bottle series will honor UK basketball great and James Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Dan Issel. Proceeds from the bottle sales will benefit the Gill Heart Institute at UK HealthCare.

“I am extremely honored to be chosen by Maker’s Mark and Keeneland to be on this year’s bottle,” Issel said. “Both companies are at the very top of their respected industries. The fact that the proceeds go to UK Med Center make this honor even more special. I look forward to the April 12 signing when I can visit with some of those great UK fans.”

Maker’s Mark will donate proceeds from the sales – estimated to be about $175,000 – to the Gill Heart Institute, which will utilize these funds to help build a dedicated cardiovascular medicine patient floor in UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital’s new Pavilion A.

“As a native of Kentucky I grew up with Dan Issel as a household name. He was and still is one of the greatest to play basketball for UK. We at Maker’s Mark are so pleased to honor him in a way that will help the UK Gill Heart Institute,” said Rob Samuels, COO of Maker’s Mark Distillery.

The 65 health-care providers at the Gill Heart Institute saw an estimated 16,500 outpatients in 2012, including those seen in 51 monthly outreach clinics covering much of Eastern Kentucky. The Gill staff reads approximately 25,000 images annually.

An All-American his senior year, Issel played for the University of Kentucky from 1967 to 1970 and remains the storied program’s all-time leading scorer in men’s basketball. He went on to become one of professional basketball’s greatest scorers, playing most of his career for the Denver Nuggets where he would later coach. Issel was elected to the James Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. Issel also has owned Thoroughbred race horses.

Maker’s Mark produced 20,000 numbered, limited edition bottles. A bottle signing, scheduled the day of the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) (formerly known as the Maker’s Mark Mile), will be held Friday, April 12, trackside at Keeneland, with Issel, Samuels and Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason.

The signing on Friday, April 12 will begin at 6:30 a.m. No bottles will be available at Keeneland and people participating in the signing must be 21 years or older.

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    Picked up two of them this morning on my way to work. They are the nicest UK bottles I have ever seen. They are SHARP. Not sure if I can get to Keeneland to get it signed but it is a BEAUTIFUL bottle.

    I also have the Tashaun Price commereative wine bottle from Elk Creek (I think I am at work )that they sold this Christmas. Another STUNNING bottle IMO.



  2. King Ghidora

    I have long ago given up the “spirits” world but the Horse being honored by a brand like Maker’s Mark is truly an honor. Issel was clearly the best player ever at UK. He didn’t manage to win a title (thanks to some seriously questionable officiating and an injury to key guard, Mike Casey) but he certainly lit up the scoreboard like a pinball machine. He kept right on scoring points throughout his pro career. He retired as the 4th leading scorer in pro basketball history. But strangely enough he wasn’t one of the NBA’s 50 best players. Yeah right. He was one of their 5 best players IMO. Issel was a scoring machine but the media types who love hot dog basketball were preoccupied with high flying basketball instead of actual basketball. They were enamored with Erving but never noticed that Issel usually had a higher ppg average. They could never figure out how he scored so many points. Simple. Fundamental basketball works every time. Dan knew two things that could make any player far better. He knew what a bank shot was and he knew what a shot fake was. He would fake his jumper, take a dribble and a step to the side and fire his jump shot often off the backboard along the way. He scored nearly 28,000 points in pro ball like that which leaves him still at the #9 position I believe. Considering he was asked to shoot less by teams like the Colonels and the Nuggets. There were a lot of great shooters on the Kentucky ABA team. Guys like Dampier, Gilmore, etc. made it hard for Dan to continue justifying scoring over 30 ppg. They shared the ball and the team won but Dan’s average went down. If he had been like Jordan he could have scored another 5000 points IMO. Mike shot the ball a “lot” early in his career. And I mean a LOT.

    Issel’s accomplishments are still legend at UK. Even with the 4 year players no one has come close to matching his scoring. I know the players are leaving early now but many didn’t for a long time and some still don’t. Issel scored a heck of a lot of points in 3 years. UK has had some great players in recent years but until I see them have the kind of career Issel had he will remain my choice as best Wildcat ever.

    1. Larry Pup

      Amen King. Well said about Dan. While the proceeds from the sale of these bottles of whiskey goes to a good cause, I’m not happy about the booze. The $175,000 is peanuts when compared to all the money the booze industry makes. Let alone all the deaths attributed to drunk driving. I don’t think stuff like this helps UK’s overall image, JMO. I’ll leave it at that.

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