On their Facebook page this morning, the folks at Maker's Mark posted the following announcement about a recent change of heart. "You spoke. We listened," they wrote.
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Judging by the storm of protest surrounding the recent decision by Maker's Mark to water down its bourbon, you'd think the brand is diluting its product with the blood of baby panda bears. Twitter has been all a-twitter with angry bourbon fans reacting to Maker's decision to decrease the proof of its signature brand by three percent in order to increase supply and meet crushing demand. I was even asked by one bartender what America is coming to.
Maker's Mark became one of the most recognizable names in bourbon by following a path most people would assume could only lead to disaster. Step 1: Create an unknown brand in a crumbling industry. Step 2: Charge a lot for your product. Step 3: Advertise that you charge a lot. Step 4: Fail to make much money for over two decades. It sounds like a strange path for the Samuels family, who started the distillery, but along the way, Maker's helped resurrect bourbon from the dead.
As a bourbon fan, not a bourbon expert, there aren't too many brands I could pick out of a lineup with confidence. But I'm pretty sure I could sniff out a Maker's Mark, no question. It's a sweet whiskey smelling of caramel and vanilla that lands on the front of your palate, soft and smooth, with a long, warm finish. How does it get that flavor? We tasted our way through every stage of the process to learn how.
When I think of bourbon, I immediately think of Maker's Mark—as I'm sure many of you do, too. Whether or not it's your favorite, it's certainly one of the most iconic. I envision a red wax-sealed bottle behind just about every well-stocked bar, high-end or low, the world over. So I found it almost hard to believe that every drop of the stuff is made at a single facility in Loretto, Kentucky. And last week, we got a chance to see just how it happens, from the corn delivery to barreling to bottling. Come take a look!
After months of preparation, Maker's Mark introduced its new bourbon, Maker's '46', starting last week. Innovation is hard to come by in the bourbon world, and it often comes at a steep price. With its emphasis on wide distribution and a wallet-friendly price, Maker's '46' aims to change that situation—but is the whiskey worth seeking out? We tried it.
"If the new Maker's Mark bourbon is a success, it may prompt other American distillers to release more 'what-if' experiments." [Flickr: drp] Dedicated fans of American whiskey received some interesting news last week. As reported on What Does John Know?...