Whisky Advocate

Malt Advocate Whisky Awards “Industry Leader of the Year”: Mark Brown (Buffalo Trace Distillery)

February 9th, 2010

Industry Leader of the Year

Mark Brown, President and CEO of Buffalo Trace Distillery

Mark is a visionary, incredibly driven, a clever businessman, and most importantly, passionate about whiskey. Like many other whiskey CEOs, he wants to make the perfect whiskey. But I have never seen anyone work this hard at it.

Buffalo Trace is conducting thousands of different experiments (including some at their experimental micro-distillery), many of them groundbreaking. More importantly, whiskey enthusiasts get to taste them on an ongoing basis, through the highly anticipated “Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection” releases. Their stable of regular whiskeys is also astonishing. I can think of at least twenty-five different straight bourbon and rye whiskeys produced by Buffalo Trace, from the flagship Buffalo Trace bourbon to the annual Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, which are consistently among the finest American whiskeys being produced.

There are other amazing whiskeys, and distilleries, under the Buffalo Trace umbrella; all of the wonderful Van Winkle whiskeys, for example. In 2009, Buffalo Trace purchased the Tom Moore distillery, where Barton and Ridgemont Reserve 1792 are produced. Later in the year, they also acquired the Old Taylor brand.

Experiments, acquisitions, and exciting new releases of the highest quality and at reasonable prices: what more could a whiskey-lover ask for? Thank you, Mark. Don’t stop! (Like you ever would…)

Tomorrow’s Malt Advocate Whisky Awards announcement: Distillery of the Year.

36 Responses to “Malt Advocate Whisky Awards “Industry Leader of the Year”: Mark Brown (Buffalo Trace Distillery)”

  1. sam k says:

    An amazing man shepherding an incredibly diverse program at a world-class distillery. Unparalleled anywhere in the whiskey-making universe, and we have him right here!. Well deserved, Mr. Brown!

  2. Alex says:

    Congratulations to Mark and Buffalo Trace.

  3. Kevin says:

    Definitely the man that deserves it! Visiting the Trace was the highlight of my trip to Kentucky… and Mark had a big part in that. The things he and his team think of continue to boggle the mind – can’t wait to see what’s next.

  4. Seth Nadel says:


    Congratulations, but when are you going to start distributing Buffalo Trace in NJ? There are a lot of bourbon lovers here!

  5. lawschooldrunk says:

    If anyone lives in NJ right off of the 295, I may be able to deliver buffalo trace…

  6. bgulien says:

    Sadly I can’t comment, because here in Europe, we have to do without the best of American Whiskey.
    Buffalo Trace we get the standard expression.
    The range of bourbons we can buy are the standard bottles, Jim Beam White, Four Roses, Jack Daniels (Tenn. Whiskey of course). Sometimes a Knob Creek can be had. Makers Mark is among the best we can buy.
    Maybe American Whiskey makers should be more aggressive and export to more countries.
    I think there is a big market for these fine bourbons in Europe!

    • Seth Nadel says:

      Just out of curiority, what’s your opinion on the Knob Creek and Makers Mark?

      • bgulien says:

        Makers is a Bourbon that can match a Scotch. It’s is a complex, but very mellow bourbon. Like it very much.
        Knob Creek I like, because I like all Booker Noe’s expression. I used to travel once a month to the US and paid a visit to the Jim Beam site. There I got up close and personal with the Booker Noe expression, like Bookers, Knob Creek and Basil Hayden.
        Since I don’t travel so much anymore, I kinda lost sight of all these fine expressions. And others I read about in MA.
        Because I rate the American Whiskey’s as good as the Scotch, just different, I wish we could get the better expressions over here.
        But I guess some people in the US have the same feelings about all the small limited editions of Scotch, we can get pretty easily over here.

        • Alex says:

          Bgulien, yes so true – can you say Kilchoman and HP Earl Magnus…not touching our shores anytime soon.

    • It is absolutely not true that we can’t get all those great bourbons. You just have to make an effort.
      Try in Amersfoort.
      They can provide you with most of the bourbons you want.
      I agree that we cant get EVERYTHING overhere but what i have read on several forums even you americans have the same problem because some board rules the sale of liqour in your state.
      I myself would like some Willett or Black Maple Hill to try or a Dry Fly or.. or..or.
      But we are not to pity with lack of great bourbons , and ecspecially those from Buffallo Trace are easily to purchase in several specialised whiskyshops overhere in Holland.
      There are several other webshops in the UK and Belgium that you can order from.

    • Guy May says:

      Dear bgulien,

      Buffalo Trace Bourbon and select expressions from the Antique Collection are now officially available in many European countries including the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France and Belgium. Please let me know where you reside and I will direct you to a local importer for more information.



      Guy May
      International Sales Director
      Sazerac Company, Inc.

      • bgulien says:

        The Netherlands. Thanks Guy for the offer.
        And, yes, I have seen the list from and it only got BT in 0.75 and 1.75 ltr variety and no Sazerac and George T. Stagg expressions. Whisky Exchange I used to buy from, but since it raised it’s taxes by 2.5 %, it’s rather expensive to buy from the UK.
        So, please if you can set me on the trail of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection somewhere in Europe, preferably in Germany, then I would very much appreciate this.

      • Seth Nadel says:

        Hey Guy,

        How about sending a little more AC and EC to NJ? Fedway didn’t get enough.

  7. Seth Nadel says:

    Over the last 5 years, bourbon has really exploded in NJ. Back then, you could get all the bourbon you wanted. Not anymore. NYC is about 20 minutes from us and they get bourbons NJ will NEVER get. That’s frustrating. Hopefully, things will change, but I doubt it.

  8. Texas says:

    Never had a Buffalo Trace whiskey that I have not loved. Just hope they keep the tradition of keeping the pricing of the BTAC at reasonable levels.

    • Seth Nadel says:

      Heck…raise it a few bucks, but release more into the market.

      • Red_Arremer says:

        Careful there, Seth 😉

        • Seth Nadel says:

          Maybe you’re right. I should keep my mouth shut. 🙂

          Unfortunately, the limited availability of the Antique Collection causes retailers to price it much higher than it really should be. Good for the retailer…bad to the consumer. I saw one store selling it for $200/bottle. Great bourbons and ryes, but I think that’s getting a little carried away. Lets hope one day supply will come a little closer to demand.

  9. Texas says:

    If by few you mean $5 to $10, I’d be OK with that. It is frustrating that it’s gone so quickly.

  10. Jon W says:

    I’ll echo everyone here in that I love what Buffalo Trace is doing. A solid core range. Even more solid annual releases. And exciting experiments (which I’ve sadly not had the opportunity to try).

    Congratulations Mark!!

    My biggest whisky regret of 2009 is not getting my hands on a bottle of the W.L. Weller release. The 2008 bottling (which I thankfully have a backup of) was my hands down favorite of that lineup. John’s review had me drooling for the 2009, but unfortunately it did not seem to make it’s way to the Philly area (or was gone before it hit the shelves). And no, I don’t want it enough to pay $200+ for it.

    • sam k says:

      Jon, I’m not sure that anything from the Antique Collection but George T. Stagg made it into Pennsylvania this year. That’s all I got, but at $56, it’s as good a deal as anywhere in the U.S. It’s still available in some locations, too!

      • Jon W says:

        A handful of Wellers made it to Western and Central PA (I had been tracking the inventory on their website almost daily throughout November & December), but disappeared quickly. I should have been proactive and had a couple bottles transferred to one of my stores. Oh well.

        Thanks for the heads up on the Stagg! Just checked and a store near where I work has a few bottles. I had been so focused on the Weller (and TH Sazerac) that I didn’t even think to look for the Stagg. But I guess that’s part of the beauty of these blogs. Seems like a good enough excuse to break my new year’s purchasing moratorium.

      • Seth Nadel says:

        $56?!?!?! That’s an incredible price! PA has state run stores, so I’m a little shocked with that price. Good for you, though. Buy a few bottles and then sell them on eBay. You will make a killing.

  11. Almost forgot,
    Thanks for making such a fine stuff like Eagle Rare and Blantons(all of them)

  12. JWC says:

    great selection john. at this point of my life, i prefer bourbon over scotch (i used to drink mostly scotch) and most of my collection is from BT (BTAC and Pappy’s). Like points out, the ER SB 10 yo is great value as is the Elmer T. Lee. The ONLY thing I would nit pick about your article is the following sentence: “whiskey enthusiasts get to taste them [experiments] on an ongoing basis, through the highly anticipated “Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection” releases”. I don’t think most whiskey enthusiasts ever see a single bottle of the BTEC because of the extreme limited numbers released. I FINALLY saw them and the retailer asked for 75% above MSRP (and I paid it because I never even saw the bottles before).

  13. EMalt says:

    I love BT myself as well, and they fully deserve the reward.

    Coming from Holland as well, i can say is right about the availability of premium Bourbons. The BTAC collection is almost unobtainable, but can easily be ordered from The Whisky Exchange, the same goes for Parkers Heritage bottlings, etc, etc.

    They’re only a ‘bit’ more expensive than buying them in the US ;).

    And: We can get all Blanton Expressions 🙂


    • Seth Nadel says:

      You definitely have to know someone if you want to get your hands on the AC’s. The EC’s are even more impossible to get. Sometimes I wonder why there are even released since only a handful of people get to drink them.

    • bgulien says:

      EMalt, please let me tell you what BT expressions are sold by the Whisky Exchange:
      The “regular” BT and 2 Experimentals: French Oak and Twice barreled. No BTAC at TWE.
      As for others, I have looked and searched, and I have looked at , but show me the expressions we talked about in this thread. Whiskyworld doesn’t have Sazerac and George T. Stagg expressions. They have a lot, but what I want is not there.
      So a source for more BT expressions is very much appreciated.

  14. Jeff Nelson says:

    Congrats to Mark and the entire team @ BT …i look forward to visit number 3 in March!

  15. Texas says:

    Here in Houston Spec’s will e-mail you (if you ask them to put you on the list) when the BTAC is in. They sell them at $60-$70 and have a limit of 2 bottles of each. Fair enough. They also have some of the BTEC as well.selling for $78 for a 375ml bottle.

  16. Monique at the Dell says:

    We only get the basic BT in Nebraska, which is still great stuff for the price. I’ll be happy when supply can catch up with demand in a few years (fingers crossed), and we have the AC/EC’s. Until then, I’m taking everyone else’s word for it…

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