Makers Mark Raids the Family Liquor Cabinet

Categories: Complaint Desk

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Had any trouble fining Makers Mark on the shelves of your local liquor store as of late? I haven't. The only reason I know is I've been zipping around town comparing prices at the big liquor stores like Spec's, Total Wine, Sigel's and others. It is completely anecdotal that Makers Mark was well stocked at each of these stores while I was conducting my research, but I think it does speak a little to the shortage the distillery is citing as they announce their recent decision to water down their bourbon.

Makers Mark announced that they will be reducing the alcohol in their product to deal with surplus demand for the whiskey. The letter addressed to their brand ambassadors explains the short change they claim is a response to news that many of their customers have been having difficulty finding Maker's Mark in local stores.

After looking at all possible solutions, we've worked carefully to reduce the alcohol by volume (ABV) by just 3%. This will enable us to maintain the same taste profile and increase our limited supply so there is enough Maker's Mark to go around, while we continue to expand the distillery and increase our production capacity.

Huh.

Before you get too mad you should know that international demand for bourbon has been skyrocketing. And I'm willing to bet that most people won't notice the difference 3 percent makes in a glass of bourbon. My parents didn't notice when I replaced a small (very small) percentage of their vodka with water as a youngster. (Sorry, Ma!) I wonder if Chief Operating Officer Rob Samuels will notice the difference that same percentage makes in his bottom line, though.

The move highlights the priorities of the massive distiller. Many smaller, craft producers look at excess demand as bragging rights. A clean shelf or empty stock room is evidence that the product they developed was good and highly valued by their customers. The sales performance is viewed as evidence that the production methods they have embraced should be celebrated, not diluted. Makers Mark decided it was an opportunity to just raid the liquor cabinet instead.


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11 comments
T9
T9

While it's cute to make comments like "raiding the liquor cabinet", referring to the Beam Global ownership of MM.  It's not an accurate representation of what's happening at the Distillery. The decisions were made in house with great care to stay true to the Founders objectives, create an approachable/drinkable non-blended bourbon. Rob has done just that. My brother is adamant about staying true to what the principals of Maker's was founded on and what our Grandfather had as a vision for the brand. What you will find when you taste the new lower proof Maker's Mark is the same Kentucky Whisky you've grown to love. It's still made by hand and it's still family run. Maker's is in good hands. Give it a taste before you berate the brand as short changing, you the customer.

Here's a link to an article that has thought through the situation a little better. http://www.buzzfeed.com/emofly/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-freak-out-about-the-makers-mark-news

I hope to see you all out and enjoying our amazing emerging Dallas cocktail scene.

Cheers,

Taylor Samuels


Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Just get Makers 46--it's even better, a bargain for the price, and they won't be altering it at all.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The words "watered down" bristle with hidden menace.  Also, when a company like TastyKake substitutes cheap, chemically treated fat for real butter I could shriek. 

titusgroan
titusgroan

This sounds suspiciously like a "New Coke" move.  Is there something else changing they're not telling us?

looptwelve
looptwelve

Damn shame. I never took Bill Samuels as the type that would water down his bourbon. I guess the Beam ownership had their way with it.

Twinwillow
Twinwillow

It's amazing the extent that some companies will go to hype their product. 

scott.reitz
scott.reitz moderator

@T9 Looks like we won't get a chance to taste the diluted version, anyway.

Mervis
Mervis

Is it hype the product or  squeeze every penny of profit out of it?

T9
T9

@scott.reitz@T9Absolutely you can... pour yourself a glass of Maker's and drop an ice cube in it. :-) 

The 84 proof bottle will likely become a collectors target, just like the 100 proof ones are that were sold only in Japan during the 90's.

T9
T9

@scott.reitz @T9  

Absolutely you can... pour yourself a glass of Maker's and drop an ice cube in it. :-)

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