BourbonBlog.com's Tom Fischer speaks with Rob Samuels, Chief Operating Officer of Makers Mark Bourbon Distillery, as Samuels confirms thatMaker's Mark is reducing the ABV of their Bourbon by 3% effective immediately from 45% ABV (90 proof) to 42% ABV (84 proof).
The reduction of proof will bepermanent for this global brandand Maker's Mark says it will help them put their popular Bourbon in the hands of consumers who are having difficulty finding Maker's on the shelves.
BourbonBlog.com is the first media outlet to report this story and publish an interview with Rob Samuels.
We're asking for your comments and feedback to the news on this link.
"For the last 25 years, Maker's Mark has grown at a rate of between 8 to 9% a year," Samuels tells BourbonBlog.com. While Maker's is happy to have created such a popular Bourbon, Maker's is a product that takes around 6-8 years to age."
With agedproductin massive demand coming from a single source supply in Loretto, Kentucky, there are challenges filling demands.
"We've been adding on new aging warehouses and we're looking at building a new third distillery in Loretto sometime soon to keep up with demand." says Samuels.
"We've confirmed the taste of the 84 proof Maker's is exactly the same as what consumers taste in the 90 proof by our tasting panel," explains Samuels. This tasting panel consistsof full time Maker's Mark employees. Maker's Mark reached out to their Maker's Mark Ambassadors by email today to let them know first about this change (see full email test below).
For loyal fans of Maker's Mark Bourbon that are questioning how this change will be noticed by their own tastebuds, Samuels says he is confidentthat when fans taste Maker's Mark for themselves that their reviews will be the same as they have always been.
The Maker's Mark Bourbon brand as we know today was born in 1953 (watch our archived video interview below with Rob Samuels as he tells Tom Fischer the story of Maker's Mark)
"My grandparents decided to bring Bourbon and good taste together for the first time in 1953," Samuels says.
He explains that back then as it is today, Maker's Mark wasn't about proof, it was about the flavor. When the brand started, the Bourbon was bottled 45% ABV (90 proof)
"My grandparents created a Bourbon without the bite, bitterness, and revolutionized the whole process."
So how much will the proof reduction help Maker's Mark bring Bourbon to thirsty fans?
"Not a huge amount with the growth of the brand. However, this will help us extend the supplies. The change will help us get Maker's on the shelves," Samuels tells us.
You may see the Maker's Mark Bourbon bottled at the new 42% ABV on shelves within the next few weeks. Maker's Mark 46's at 94 proof, only available in the U.S. and some Canadian markets, will stay the same the same proof says Samuels.
While there once were Maker's Mark Japanese and international only exports of varying proofs, the only other product that Maker's Mark Distillers currently produces is the Maker's White, the un-aged distillate of Maker's Mark available only at the Maker's Mark Distillery gift shop.
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Interview with Rob Samuels, Story of Maker's Mark
Official E-mail to Maker's Mark Ambassadors
From: Rob Samuels @makersmark.com>
Date: February 9, 2013, 9:16:34 AM EST
Subject: A message for our Ambassadors
Dear Maker’s Mark® Ambassador,
Lately we’ve been hearing from many of you that you’ve been having difficulty finding Maker’s Mark in your local stores. Fact is, demand for our bourbon is exceeding our ability to make it, which means we’re running very low on supply.
We never imagined that the entire bourbon category would explode as it has over the past few years, nor that demand for Maker’s Mark would grow even faster.
We wanted you to be the first to know that, 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.We have both tasted it extensively, and it’s completely consistent with the taste profile our founder/dad/grandfather, Bill Samuels, Sr., created nearly 60 years ago.
We’ve also done extensive testing with Maker’s Mark drinkers, and they couldn’t tell a difference.Nothing about how we handcraft Maker’s Mark has changed, from the use of locally sourced soft red winter wheat as the flavor grain, to aging the whisky to taste in air-dried American white oak barrels, to rotating our barrels during maturation, to hand-dipping every bottle in our signature red wax.
In other words, we’ve made sure we didn’t screw up your whisky.By the way, if you have any comments or questions, as always, we invite you to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Thanks for your support. And if you’ve got a little time on your hands, come down and see us at the distillery.
Chief Operating Officer Ambassador-in-Chief
Jr. Chairman Emeritus Ambassador-at-Large