February 17, 2013 by Bourbon Empire
Just when we all thought we had witnessed the fall of modern Rome when Maker’s Mark decided to water down its famous brand, that decision is now being reversed. Rome still stands, and Americans won’t have to witness the degradation of its iconic bourbon (at least one brand’s version of bourbon).
About an hour ago, Maker’s Mark sent a note to drinkers saying that “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 a few days after Valentine’s Day, Maker’s offered a sweet kiss to its fans, shortly after it had slapped them in the face by telling them they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in taste after they dropped the proof: “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.”
The uproar from customers after Maker’s made its announcement was surprising — I half expected that the staff at Maker’s bucolic distillery in Loretto, KY would be forced to don riot gear. Maker’s noticed as well, telling customers, “You spoke. We listened. And we’re sincerely sorry we let you down.”
Maker’s note continued: “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.”
The part about expanding the distillery’s capacity is interesting, since many speculated that Maker’s original decision to water down its bourbon was made in order to increase supply without having to pay for expensive expansion projects.
I wish them luck with their expansion plans and, along with many other bourbon fans, encourage them to offer a special bottling with a proof in the 100+ range. Maker’s has a unique recipe that many bourbon geeks would love to try this way–the difference between Old Grand Dad 100 proof and Old Grand Dad 114, for instance, is a special treat.