2011 Extraordinary Achiever: Bill Samuels, Jr.

In honor of Dyslexia Awareness Month, The Learning Center at The Lexington School will honor Bill Samuels, Jr., Chairman Emeritus of Maker's Mark, with its Extraordinary Achiever's Award, on Friday, October 28th, and Mr. Samuels, Jr. will share his experiences as a dyslexic and parent of a dyslexic. 

Bill Samuels, Jr. is the son of Maker’s Mark founder Bill Samuels, Sr. and was President of Maker’s Mark, the world’s oldest operating bourbon distillery, for more than 35 years before his retirement in April 2011. Samuels Jr. pioneered the marketing campaigns that grew Maker’s Mark from a local whiskey into an iconic brand and generated renewed appreciation for Kentucky’s bourbon heritage.  As a result, Maker’s Mark experienced tremendous growth, achieved international brand recognition through its Brand Ambassador program and the Maker’s Mark distillery became one of Kentucky’s most popular tourist attractions.   In one of his final contributions, Samuels Jr. expanded the brand with the introduction Maker’s 46, the first new bourbon to the Maker’s Mark line in 52 years.

Samuels Jr. credits some of his success to his experiences as a dyslexic, which enables him to see old information in a different way.  As he said to Fortune Magazine, "Many times in business, different is better than better. We dyslexics do different without blinking an eye." 

Since his retirement in April, Bill Samuels Jr. has passed on the reins at Maker’s Mark to his son Rob Samuels, who is also dyslexic.  Rob is the eighth generation to continue the family’s bourbon-making tradition.  As Chairman Emeritus, Samuels Jr. continues to promote Maker’s Mark to its brand fans around the world. 

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