Monday, February 11, 2013

Maker's Mark cuts the alcohol level in its bourbon

I took a week off from food world last week and look what happened: Maker's Mark, maker of the bourbon with the red wax top, has announced an Impending Bourbon Shortage:

"Demand for our bourbon is exceeding our ability to make it, which means we’re running very low on supply." That's from a letter to Maker's Mark "ambassadors," people who sign up on the distillery website to receive information and occasional offers like ice cube trays shaped like bottles of Maker's Mark. (Yes, after touring distilleries last year to work on a book on bourbon, a member of my family is on the Ambassador list.)

The letter, from Chief Operating Officer Rob Samuels and Chair Emeritus Bill Samuels Jr., goes on to announce that Maker's Mark will decrease the alcohol by volume of its product by 3%.

From the letter: "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."

This, of course, raises a few questions:

Will Maker's Mark lower the price by 3% to reflect the lower volume of alcohol?

Will the alcohol return to its previous level when the distillery is expanded?

And: In a world in which 1-quart mayonnaise jars no longer hold a quart and 1-pound jars are 12 ounces, is nothing sacred?


Anonymous said...

As a long time patron of Market's Mark, who visited their distillery when it only had 19 employees, I am disappointed. They might not be able to taste the difference, but I'll bet I can! Stupid! Just raise your price 3%. We would pay it!

Anonymous said...

Taste great. less filling, Makers Lite

Bob said...

Business 101: Raise the price, don't lower the quality. They just created a market for "pre-2013" Maker's Mark, is what they have done.

And two final words: New Coke.