Don’t get me wrong.
I’ll be among those first in line when the first Makers Mark bottles honoring Rick Pitino are released. His will be displayed right beside the Charlie Strong edition issued last year. The company is to be lauded for its commitment to excellence at the University of Louisville, having pledged $500,000 toward construction of an $8 million academic center for athletes.
Makers Mark always does things in a quality way, even if somewhat predictable.
What I’ve been keeping an eye out for is a decorative decanter similar to those released by Old Commonwealth when UofL basketball won its first and second national championships in 1980 and 1986, respectively.
The first one was a white decanter including the flying Cardinal logo, along with a listing of all the scores during the regular season on one side, the NCAA games on the opposite site, and a photo of the Grawmeyer Administration Building on the back. The second one actually had the flying Cardinal protruding from the front of a red and black No. 1. I have admired those pieces for 33 and 27 years, hoping to add to the collection.
Those bottles were distributed by a company called Old Commonwealth and contained 80 proof Kentucky bourbon for the UofL Alumni Association and the now-defunct University of Louisville Associates. Rodney Williams probably spearheaded the effort for the alumni group but he passed away about 10 years ago. A Google search for Old Commonwealth yielded only a reference to a collection of decanters so they’re probably gone, too.
Pitino has earned his bottle but I really would relish having one that honors the team and UofL’s third NCAA basketball championship.