But today, appearing to cave under the pressure of a multitude of irate Bourbon lovers, the father and son team posted the following apologia pro delinquimus:
You spoke. We listened.
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.
Bill Samuels, Jr
Chief Operating Officer
There you have it, whiskey lovers. The people have spoken. Another NEW COKE fiasco has been averted, God’s in His heaven, and all’s right with the world.
But wait. I can’t leave you with this momentous news, without sharing a little personal insight. The last time I spoke with Bill Samuels, was at his lovely home, on the grounds of the Maker’s Mark Distillery, at Loretto, Kentucky. It was at one of his wickedly lavish Derby parties, and Bill was dressed up in an Elvis costume; complete with rhinestone sunglasses and paste-on sideburns. I shook his hand, and he replied, “Thank yuh. Thank yuh vurry much!” I recall thinking at the time, “This guy is a true marketing genius!”
So, dear reader, I leave you with the question: Did the Samuels—pere et fils—really intend to water down their prized Bourbon Whisky, or did they gin up millions of dollars in free publicity with the slickest marketing ploy since “Where’s the beef?” We report, you decide.
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