Maker’s Mark backs down – it was just a matter of time

It was just a matter of time before Maker’s Mark saw the folly of their announcement that they were reducing the alcohol content of their product on the grounds that they wanted to fill more bottles to stock on shelves.

Maker's Mark

You can now sleep at night - Maker's Mark has backed down from their plan to reduce the alcohol content of their bourbon.

What were they thinking in the first place?

They have a loyal following of consumers – almost cult-like.

It was the first bourbon I learned to drink when I was looking for something that was not bottom shelf. I’ve since moved on to other products, but it remains a very good choice when visiting restaurants that have few choices.

There was no doubt in my mind that this attempted departure would be short-lived. The question now…was it all a marketing ploy to gain some attention for their product that faces many more choices on the shelves of liquor stores? Let the conspiracy theories begin.

If you are looking for a few choices instead of Maker’s Mark consider some of these: 1792 Ridgemont Reserve, Four Roses Small Batch, Jefferson’s Reserve. If you are looking for something from outside Kentucky, try Smooth Ambler from West Virginia.

There are so many good products out there. Live a little. When you visit a restaurant, try something else and you’ll see there are other products worthy of your dollars.




Here is the letter the folks at Maker’s Mark posted at

You spoke. We listened.

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.


Rob Samuels, Chief Operating Officer

Bill Samuels, Jr, Chairman Emeritus


About Kim Kolarik

Exploring bourbon one sip at a time and sharing the experience.© Contact me at I've followed the original bourbon trail from my native Pennsylvania, where the whiskey rebellion erupted to Louisville, Kentucky, my current home. Bourbon is now in a revolution of expansion. I'll be bringing you news, information and tasting notes of bourbon from Kentucky and the emerging craft distillers from around the United States. I am photographer, designer and editor. --Kim D. Kolarik
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