Maker’s Mark Makes It’s Mark

makers markThe captivating saga of Maker’s Mark has run its course. The company announced that they were planning on lowering the proof of their famous bourbon to 84 from the current 90, and got a lot of social media backlash from customers as their reward. It was interesting to see the Maker’s Mark brand enjoy a lot of social media coverage especially in the wake of North Korea’s nuclear tests as well as the crumbling economy. However, these problems may help to explain the demand for higher proof bourbons. After the media backlash, Beam, Inc, the proprietors of the brand, announced that they had rescinded that decision. On February 17, 2012 the company released a press statement indicating that the huge outcry had forced them to change their plans. In other words, the public spoke, and they listened. Local and international media highlighted some of the comments that were posted by consumers, most of whom claimed that they would not buy watered-down bourbon.

In between posting harsh social media comments and screaming abuses, consumers went on a spending spree and bought all the 90 proof bourbon that they can find. In all these, there is one serious question that needs to be answered; was the decision to water down this popular Maker’s Mark bourbon brand by 6.7% justified?

Check out these facts.

  • Bourbon is no longer bourbon if it is less than 80 proof, so 84 proof is not really watered down.
  • Any bourbon that is not barrel proof is watered down. The truth is that most distilleries go to great lengths to protect and celebrate the water that they use when producing bourbons.
  • Different brands of bourbons, including Maker’s Mark come with different proofs ranging from 80 to about 130, which is actually barrel proof.
  • Apart from Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam white label is the top selling bourbon brand, and is 80 proof.
  • As you can see bourbons come in a wide range of proofs.

Preliminary judgement on Maker’s Mark: The most elite class of bourbons come with the highest proof, so Maker’s Mark, by lowering its proof, would have moved itself away from the elite class of bourbons. The move, if it was implemented, would have moved the bourbon to the low end category of bourbons.
After manufacturing some Maker’s Mark 84 proof and aborting the project, Beam, Inc carried out an experiment to determine whether or not consumers can note the difference between original proof and aborted proof. Well, anyone who wants to get drunk with Maker’s Mark can notice the difference.

There is also a major difference between Maker’s Mark 84 and 90 proof drinks. While they both have sweet, honey and caramel notes on the front palate, a person who drinks Maker’s Mark 90 proof will get drunk faster than the one who takes a similar quantity of Maker’s Mark aborted proof.

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