Maker’s Mark Reverses Decision To Dilute Whiskey

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 17 2013 3:53 PM

Maker’s Mark Reverses Decision To Decrease Alcohol Content in Whiskey

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Maker's Mark is known for its square bottles that are sealed with red wax

Photo by Shadle via Wikimedia Commons

Fans of Maker’s Mark can rest easy. The producer of the iconic bourbon is reversing its decision to cut the amount of alcohol content in Maker’s Mark to 42 percent, or 84 proof, from 45 percent, or 90 proof, after lots of backlash from customers, reports the Associated Press. “You spoke. We listened,” wrote Rob Samuels, Maker’s Mark’s chief operating officer, and Maker’s Mark Chairman Emeritus Bill Samuels, in a statement posted on the company’s Facebook page. “We’re sincerely sorry we let you down.”

The company had said it was instituting the change because of a supply shortage amid high demand for the product. But in the end, the company recognized it may have been too practical. Bill Samuels said the company had focused too much on its insistence that adding additional water to the product would not alter its taste without considering that fans have an emotional attachment to the brand and its original recipe. “Our focus was on the supply problem. That led to us focusing on a solution,” Bill Samuels said. “We got it totally wrong.” In the end, the whole controversy might work out in the company's favor. After all, it got its name in the media and showed how customers care about the brand. As of this writing, more than 18,000 people had liked the company’s statement on Facebook.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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