Recently executives at Maker’s Mark, the legendary bourbon distiller with the iconic red wax covering on the tops of their bottles, announced it would soon begin diluting its whisky due to anticipated supply shortages. That upcoming change ignited a firestorm of complaints from loyal Maker’s Mark customers as well as industry experts. In response to the backlash over the weekend Maker’s Mark pulled a 180 and announced it was officially scrapping the ill conceived diluting plan.
“While we thought we were doing what’s right, this is your brand – and you told us in large numbers to change our decision,” the company said in a statement released on Sunday. “You spoke. We listened. And we’re sincerely sorry we let you down.”
The company said, it would reverse its decision to lower the alcohol content of Maker’s Mark. It resumed production at 45 percent alcohol by volume.
As is typical in this modern age of communications, social media played a huge role in the reversal by Maker’s Mark executives. Since the original announcement was made public last week, irate Maker’s Mark lovers took to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to complain about the company dropping the alcohol content of their .
“Hey, @MakersMark Raise prices if you must, but don’t mess with success! Ever heard of New Coke? #bourbon” one Tweet proclaimed.
Maker’s Mark, which has been using largely the same bourbon recipe since 1954 had said it was forced to make the decision to decreasing the proof of its whisky from 90 proof to 84 proof because of “unforeseen demand.” Bill Samuels Jr. had said that the brand wanted to keep its prices competitive.
According to Samuels, many parts of the country have seen shortages of Maker’s Mark, and demand continues to grow. The move to less alcohol content is meant to address supply issues.
The one-brand company which traces its beginnings back to 1840 doesn’t purchase bourbon from other distillers, making forecasting difficult. The age range of the whiskey, five years nine months to seven years, had allowed the brand to keep ahead of market shortages in the past.
The owners said they had tested the watered-down bourbon themselves and validated their own findings with consumer research. Both agreed that “there’s no difference in the taste,” Samuels said.