Maker’s Mark: Haha, Just Kidding — We Won’t Water Down Bourbon

Translation: "Simmer down now, folks."

Translation: “Simmer down now, folks.”

While you were sweetly slumbering through the three-day weekend (or grumbling at your desk yesterday) you might’ve missed the news that several of your bourbon-loving brethren are sure to have noticed. Namely, that Maker’s Mark admitted it’d made a mistake and won’t be watering down its product, after all. Go ahead, even belated sighs of relief are allowed.

On Sunday, Maker’s Mark tweeted:

The link led to a letter from Rob Samuels and Bill Samuels, Jr., the CEO and Charmain Emeritus, respectively. Therein, the two Samuels admitted that perhaps the decision to take Maker’s Mark from 90 proof or 45% alcohol by volume to 84 proof and 42% abv was misguided.

That is, enough people freaked out over the change that the company realized it’d have a full-scale rebellion on its hands if it messed with anything. Maker’s Mark had cited high demand for the booze in red wax-topped bottles as the reason for watering down its bourbon.

Starting with “You spoke. We listened,” which the company has now turned into a celebratory hashtag on Twitter for all the fans of Maker’s Mark, the company admitted that the uproar changed everything. A backlash can sting, can’t it?

Read the full letter below while sipping (because it’s five o’clock somewhere, right? Etc.):

Dear friends,

Since we announced our decision last week to reduce the alcohol content (ABV) of Maker’s Mark in response to supply constraints, we have heard many concerns and questions from our ambassadors and brand fans. We’re humbled by your overwhelming response and passion for Maker’s Mark. While we thought we were doing what’s right, this is your brand – and you told us in large numbers to change our decision.

You spoke. We listened. And we’re sincerely sorry we let you down.

So 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 like we’ve made it since the very beginning.

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.

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.

We’ll set about getting back to bottling the handcrafted bourbon that our father/grandfather, Bill Samuels, Sr. created. Same recipe. Same production process. Same product.

As always, we will continue to let you know first about developments at the distillery. In the meantime please keep telling us what’s on your mind and come down and visit us at the distillery. It means a lot to us.

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