Louisville, Ky (February 11, 2011) – The first Early Times Mint Julep Artist Search Contest has concluded and a winner has been selected. After receiving dozens of entries from across the country, Marita Walizer of Oklahoma City was chosen as the winner for her artwork entitled “Derby Cheers”.
For the past 24 years, the Early Times Mint Julep has proudly served as the “Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby” with a commemorative artwork bottle released for the past 13 of those 24 years. Walizer’s winning artwork will be featured on this year’s Early Times Mint Julep commemorative bottle. In addition, she will receive $5,000 and a trip for two to the 2011 Kentucky Derby.
For 11 of the 12 commemorative bottles, the paintings of Celeste Susany had graced the bottle. 2010 marked her final year with her masterwork entitled “A Golden Moment” featuring the field of contenders galloping along the back stretch while the twin spires stand majestically in the background. With 2010 marking Susany’s final year of doing the artwork for the commemorative bottle, Early Times gave consumers the opportunity to submit their own, original artwork for the chance to be featured on the 2011 Kentucky Derby bottle. Consumers logged on to the Early Times website and submitted their “What Derby Means to Me” artwork.
“It’s an incredible honor to have my artwork selected to be on the Early Times Mint Julep commemorative bottle,” said Walizer. “I grew up in Louisville and have been around horses my whole life so this really is a dream to have my artwork chosen and to attend the Kentucky Derby.”
During this year’s Derby week, more than 120,000 Early Times Mint Juleps are expected to be served at Churchill Downs®. Over the past 24 years, more than 2.5 million Early Times Mint Juleps have been served between Kentucky Oaks® and Derby Days at Churchill Downs. This year’s Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands will take place Saturday, May 7, 2011.
The newly labeled one-liter pre-mix bottle will begin hitting shelves in early April. It will be available in limited quantities throughout the United States for a suggested retail price of $14.99.