Maker's Mark reverses decision to cut amount of alcohol
Workers at the Kentucky Maker's Mark facility.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Nearly a week after announcing changes to the alcohol content of its iconic whiskey, Makers Mark officials have reversed their decision.
On Sunday, the company's chief operating officer announced the company will return the alcohol volume to its long-standing level of 45 percent, or 90 proof.
A week prior, the company announced that due to a product shortage, it would lower that amount to 42 percent, or 84 proof.
Makers Mark officials said the company has had trouble keeping up with international demand.
On social media and through e-mails to customers, the company said "You spoke. We listened."
Full statement from Makers Mark:
Since we announced our decision last week to reduce the alcohol content (ABV) of Maker's Mark in response to supply constraints, we have heard many concerns and questions from our ambassadors and brand fans. 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.
You spoke. We listened. And we're sincerely sorry we let you down.
So effective immediately, we are reversing our decision to lower the ABV of Maker's Mark, and resuming production at 45% alcohol by volume (90 proof). Just like we've made it since the very beginning.
The unanticipated dramatic growth rate of Maker's Mark is a good problem to have, and we appreciate some of you telling us you'd 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.
Your trust, loyalty and passion are what's most important. We realize we can't lose sight of that. Thanks for your honesty and for reminding us what makes Maker's Mark, and its fans, so special.
We'll set about getting back to bottling the handcrafted bourbon that our father/grandfather, Bill Samuels, Sr. created. Same recipe. Same production process. Same product.
As always, we will continue to let you know first about developments at the distillery. In the meantime please keep telling us what's on your mind and come down and visit us at the distillery. It means a lot to us.
Inside Bourbon Bistro along Frankfort Avenue, Bourbon is king.
"On any given day at least 130," said Bartender Mike Downs.
And of all those bourbons on the shelf, Maker's Mark is a king.
"The sales on it are top five easily," he said.
But the company behind the iconic red-wax dipped bottles recently made the decision to take a dip in the amount of alcohol that's inside, igniting a conversation with bartenders like Mike Downs.
"It's been discussed and it's pretty much a negative. Why didn't the price drop if you're going to pull liquor out of the bottle," Downs said.
"Our first thought was why do that," said Ann Columbia. She and her husband just moved to Louisville from Germany.
"We're trying to understand what bourbon is all about," she said.
They spent Sunday sampling the Kentucky treasure that's booming in business not just in the United States, but overseas as well.
"I love seeing it when you go to a bar in Scotland and you see a Maker's Mark," Rita Simmons said.
Makers Mark said the reduction was to help them keep up with the international demand.
"I didn't like that," Simmons said.
She appears to be in the majority which wins the fight with Makers Mark.
"Don't mess with it. Don't mess with success," Columbia said.