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TimT

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Star Hill Provisions - Loretto Kentucky

by TimT » Thu Dec 30, 2021 8:46 am

Here's a suggestion for a day-trip with great food, interesting surroundings and even an optional short hike around the distillery campus. Visit Happy Hollow in Loretto, Kentucky and dine at their on-site restaurant, Star Hill Provisions. Executive Chef AuCo Lai is a Lee Initiative grad and fixed us a fabulous meal. You can read about it and see the photos here.

https://www.cooksavorcelebrate.com/visi ... py-hollow/
"I dined at my favorite restaurant last night. It was like Heaven, only better. They let me in".
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Robin Garr

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Re: Star Hill Provisions - Loretto Kentucky

by Robin Garr » Thu Dec 30, 2021 9:50 am

Thanks, Tim! I followed the link and then went down a rabbit hole to Maker’s Mark and The Mattingly Family.

Hey! My maternal grandfather was a Bardstown Mattingly! (The only ancestor I know of who wasn't originally from Louisville). I wonder if I'm an heir to the Maker's Mark fortune! 8)
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Nathaniel C

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Re: Star Hill Provisions - Loretto Kentucky

by Nathaniel C » Fri Jan 07, 2022 12:40 am

The author of the first link above got the VIP treatment. That said, even for us non-VIPs, Maker's Mark is one of the distillery tours I always recommend (Four Roses and Woodford being the others, although I haven't been to Woodford in years). Star Hill is a great restaurant.
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Re: Star Hill Provisions - Loretto Kentucky

by Nathaniel C » Thu Jan 25, 2024 10:33 am

I have to say I've soured a bit on the Maker's Mark experience. I joined the Ambassador program many years ago and always enjoyed getting a small gift every December, and every 2-3 years, I would take advantage of the free tour that was offered to those who had attained Ambassador for Life status. I attempted to book a tour a few weeks ago, and it appeared I was not able to book a complimentary tour. I reached out to Maker's, and was informed that:
“Ambassador for Life” is actually not part of the program anymore... Unfortunately, free tours and discounts are also no longer part of the program either.

Confusingly, they went on to say that:
We heard from Ambassadors that you guys wanted more from the program after your barrel journey and we totally agree. After all, the best part about Maker’s Mark is what happens after the barrel matures! So, we’re on a mission to extend your Ambassador experience for years to come.

I'm not sure how reducing benefits is providing "more from the program." The free tours and gift shop discount were a great way to "extend the experience for years to come." Sounds like corporate doublespeak to me.
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TimT

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Re: Star Hill Provisions - Loretto Kentucky

by TimT » Fri Jan 26, 2024 10:16 am

I have to agree that the Ambassador program has slipped from its previously lofty position. I think the answer lies in the fact the Samuels Family no longer owns Maker's Mark. It began long ago.

Hiram Walker bought them in 1981 and then ownership changed successively to Allied-Domecq - Pernod Ricard- Fortune Brands - Beam Inc and to Suntory Brands in 2014.

Bill Samuels Jr. managed the company with an iron fist until 2011, when his son Rob became Managing Director.

Beam and Suntory invested millions in facility and campus upgrades, increasing production and I'm sure looking for greater returns.

Foreign corporate ownership leads to cultural misunderstandings. That is what led to the lowered proof fiasco of a few years ago.
My guess is they saw the enormous cost of maintaining the Ambassador program a cost-cutting opportunity. I too mourn the loss of the annual Christmas gift and other perks, but still love the Original Maker's Mark. It can't be beat!
"I dined at my favorite restaurant last night. It was like Heaven, only better. They let me in".

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