Details On The New 'Year Of The Cardinal' Maker's Mark Bottle

The good news? The bottle looks really, really cool.

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The bad news? Most of us probably don't have the budget to make this a casual Christmas present.

Here are the details from U of L:

The Cardinal Athletic Fund has teamed up with Maker's Mark to raise $1 million for the University of Louisville Academic Center of Excellence, helping U of L student-athletes be as successful academically as they are athletically.

Maker's Mark is donating 500 uniquely designed bottles celebrating the Year of the Cardinal with an unprecedented four-part feat in college athletics: Louisville football's Sugar Bowl victory, the baseball team reaching the College World Series, advancing to the national championship game in women's basketball, and winning the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.

For a $2,000 investment in the academic center, donors not only receive an exclusive and one-of-a-kind commemorative Maker's Mark bottle, which is personally autographed by each of the four coaches, but also will be recognized in a high-profile venue for their contribution and will know that they have made a significant contribution to the future of Cardinal Athletics.

Cardinal Athletic Fund members will have priority access to the commemorative bottle in advance of the general public. CAF members may contribute to this campaign beginning Thursday, Dec. 5 at 9 a.m. by calling the Cardinal Athletic Fund at (502) 852-8460. Any remaining bottles will be available for non-CAF members starting Friday, Dec. 6. The entire donation will be used to benefit UofL's new Academic Center of Excellence. The bottles will not be available in stores.

The `Year of the Cardinal' Maker's Mark bottle is a limited edition offering provided by the Kentucky distillery. Maker's Mark donated the bottles for this project as a special way for Louisville fans to remember the greatest year in college sports history. This bottle is separate from the original series of three Louisville themed bottles Maker's Mark initially announced to be sold in stores.

The first of those bottles arrived in July 2012, featuring the image of Louisville's football head coach Charlie Strong. The second in this series hit stores in June 2013 to commemorate men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. Details regarding the third bottle in this series have not been released at this time. It will not be available until mid-to-late 2014, and will also be sold in stores.

The Academic Center of Excellence will be located beneath the Norton Terrace at the south end of the Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The center will house the academic operations for the entire athletic department and all student-athletes and academic staff will be located in one building. The center will feature tutorial areas, laboratories, office areas and classroom space. Fundraising is in the early stages for the facility.

The additional $1 million gained through the special Year of the Cardinal bottle offer will bring the total raised for the academic center to $7.1 million toward the $14.5 million project.

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