Fortune's Bad Mix
The folks at Fortune Brands (Stock Quote: FO) clearly need to stop sampling their product if they believe basketball coach John Calipari is worthy of a commemorative bourbon bottle.
The controversial University of Kentucky men's basketball coach will be featured on a collector series of Maker's Mark bottles, the company announced this Monday. Maker's Mark, a well-known whiskey from Fortune's stable of brands, is issuing the Calipari commemorative edition as part of the bourbon distiller's partnership with Lexington, Ky., race track operator Keeneland Association.
The limited-edition bottles, which will retail for about $49, will be available for purchase across Kentucky beginning Friday, April 2, the opening day of Keeneland's spring meet. Maker's Mark says it will donate the proceeds from the sales of the commemorative bottles to the University of Kentucky's Symphony Orchestra.
Sorry, but despite the charitable connection, the whole thing strikes a sour note with us. If they want to mix bourbon with something, let it be soda, vermouth or water. Not gambling, college athletics and a tainted college basketball coach who is as famous for forfeiting games as winning them.
Calipari's UMass team had its 4-1 record in the 1996 NCAA tournament and Final Four standing vacated after its star Marcus Camby was ruled ineligible for accepting gifts from agents. And Calipari's Memphis team had its entire 2007-08 season vacated by the NCAA due to academic fraud.
"I'm not sure the world is ready for my face on a bottle, but if it helps the university, I'm all for it," said Calipari in a news release.
Spare us. If it helps John Calipari, then he's all for it.
Dumb-o-meter score: 90 -- What an airball by Fortune Brands. No coach in college history is responsible for bigger hangovers than John Calipari.