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.

The bourbon that was in the bottles is also gone, and I don’t remember consuming either one of them. A Google search for Old Commonwealth yielded only a reference to a collection of decanters so that company has probably gone out of business. Possibly a great opportunity for another local company to come up with something equally distinctive. Definitely a profit opportunity.

Pitino has earned his bottle but I really would relish having one that honors the team and UofL’s third NCAA basketball championship.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

8 thoughts on “Where are you Old Commonwealth?”
  1. I have both and they are full. I would love to have a 2013 decanter. Is one available?

    1. I will put it up pronto, Bill. I’m concerned, however, that the Maker’s Mark bottle for Pitino may be a barrier to getting a similar one for the 2013 championship.

  2. I have the red one on the right–empty…What is the value on it? Thanks, it would be a great collector item for a true U of L fan.

  3. Joan Stanley, I’m highly interested in purchasing your empty bottle. My fathers been a lifetime Louisville fan & I’d love to get this for the best dad in the work for Father’s Day. My email is, carterphillip51@yahoo feel free to email me what u would take for it.

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