March 22, 2018 – Bethesda, MD – American Beverage Licensees (ABL) recognized Mark Brown, President & CEO of Sazerac Company, with the 2018 ABL Top Shelf Award at the association’s recent Honors Gala. The Gala took place on March 12 as part of ABL’s 16th Annual Meeting at Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel & Casino in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The ABL Top Shelf Award is the highest honor presented by America’s beer, wine and spirits retailers, and recognizes those who have demonstrated professional excellence in the beverage alcohol industry and have had a positive influence in their community.
“Independent retailers recognize and appreciate Mark’s steadfast commitment to our industry, the three-tier system and a marketplace where bars, taverns and package stores build brands, service customers and are accountable to their communities,” said ABL President Steve Morris, the owner of Jorgenson’s in Helena, Montana.
From 1981 to 1992, Mark served as Director of New Products, National Sales Manager and, eventually, Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Sazerac. Brown left Sazerac and joined Brown-Forman (no relation) as Senior Vice President & COO of the Select Brands Group for two years. He then spent the next three years as President of the Advancing Markets Group, before returning to Sazerac in June 1997 in his current role as President & CEO.
As with all Top Shelf Award recipients, community involvement has played a major role in Mark Brown’s life – both personally and professionally.
“Not only has Mark grown Sazerac’s portfolio, but he has developed one of the most amazing corporate cultures you can find in any company. Mark has made Sazerac accountable to the community and that is part of what this award is about,” said Sazerac Chairman Bill Goldring. “Sazerac also makes significant financial investments and Mark has personally committed his time and treasures to various charities including the Louisville zoo, the humane society, cancer causes, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters just to name a few of the organizations that Mark has taken the initiative to help.”
Mark also established a program to donate rare bottles of whiskey to various charitable causes around the country for auction, helping to raise hundreds-of-thousands of dollars, and is responsible for the annual Halloween trick-or-treat event at the “Trace,” holiday light displays each winter, and Easter egg hunt each spring.
ABL congratulates Mark Brown on his well-deserved award and thanks him for his continued commitment to the beverage alcohol industry and support of noble causes within his community.