Wednesday 13 November 2019

Backlash from consumers sees Maker's Mark reverse move to water down whisky

BOURBON producer Maker's Mark has reversed a decision to cut the amount of alcohol in bottles of its famous whisky.

Last week, it emerged that Maker's Mark had decided to dilute the alcohol by volume from 45pc to 42pc because in the words of chairman emeritus Bill Samuels Jnr, “demand for our bourbon is exceeding our ability to make it”.

But after a backlash from customers, Maker's Mark said on Sunday that it is restoring the alcohol volume to its historic level of 45pc, or 90 proof.

In a tweet, the company said to its followers: "You spoke. We listened."

"We have heard many concerns and questions from our ambassadors and brand fans," said Mr Samuels and Rob Samuels, the chief operating officer and grandson of the brand's founder.

"We’re humbled by your overwhelming response and passion for Maker’s Mark. While we thought we were doing what’s right, this is your brand – and you told us in large numbers to change our decision," they added in a statement.

The brand known for its square bottles sealed in red wax has struggled to keep up with demand. Distribution has been squeezed, and the brand had to curtail shipments to some overseas markets.

The change in recipe started with a shortage of the bourbon amid an ongoing expansion of the company's operations that cost tens of millions of dollars.

In their statement, the Samuels said that the "unanticipated dramatic growth of Maker's Mark" was a "good problem to have" and they appreciated some customers telling the company they would even put up with occasional shortages.

"We promise we'll deal with them as best we can, as we work to expand capacity at the distillery," they said.

Maker's Mark is owned by spirits company Beam, based in Illinois. Its other brands include Jim Beam bourbon.

Maker's is made at a distillery near the small town of Loretto, 45 miles south of Louisville.

Its bourbon ages in barrels for at least six summers and no longer than seven years before bottling.

- Rachel Cooper,

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