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Maker's Mark Waters Down Its Bourbon to Keep Up With Demand

by The Drink Nation on Feb 11, 2013 in Liquor
Maker's Mark Waters Down Its Bourbon to Keep Up With Demand

Maker’s Mark’s flagship bourbon is about to get slightly less boozy. In an email to “Maker’s Mark Ambassadors” (the company’s name for fans that don’t care enough to unsubscribe from its newsletter), executives and explained the reason for the reduction. It’s all about supply and demand.

Bourbon has exploded as a popular category in recent years, not only in the U.S. but also in India and other overseas countries. “Fact is, demand for our bourbon is exceeding our ability to make it, which means we’re running very low on supply,” write COO Rob Samuels and Chairman Emeritus Bill Samuels, Jr. The email letter goes on to explain that the ABV will be reduced by 3% in order to ensure there is enough Maker’s Mark to go around.

By “reducing the ABV by 3%,” the company appears to mean it will drop three percentage points: the original Maker’s Mark rang in at 46% ABV, and the new bottles will carry 43% ABV. The company, which is part of the Jim Beam conglomerate, ran extensive taste tests and drinkers could not tell the difference between the two. The Samuels’ declare the new taste profile is “ completely consistent with the taste profile our founder/dad/grandfather, Bill Samuels, Sr., created nearly 60 years ago.”

There’s already been plenty of chatter about the change online, with many drinkers complaining, but the fact is, the difference is pretty minimal. It’s highly unlikely to be at all noticeable in any drink except a neat pour — even a different sized ice cube in a rocks pour will change the flavor profile more than this. For those who absolutely must have a higher bourbon, there’s always Maker’s 46, which is aged slightly longer than the original and carries a 47% ABV.

What do you think, will you notice the difference?

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