Chalk this one down as one of the larger corporate liquor blunders in recent memory. Maker’s Mark can’t keep up with global demand so the distillery has decided to sell out their consumers by reducing the amount of alcohol from 45 percent alcohol by volume — or 90 proof — down to about 42 percent ABV or 84 proof.
The New York Post broke the story,
“Lately we’ve been hearing from many of you that you’ve been having difficulty finding Maker’s Mark in your local stores,” Maker’s Mark executives Rob Samuels and Bill Samuels Jr. wrote in a joint email to clients. “Fact is, demand for our bourbon is exceeding our ability to make it, which means we’re running very low on supply.”
The bourbon brand — which famously used the slogan “It tastes expensive… and is” in the ‘60s and ‘70s — looked at “all possible solutions” and “worked carefully” to reduce the alcohol by volume of the beverage by 3 percent.
Company execs said the move would ensure there is “enough Maker’s Mark to go around” while it boosts production at its distillery, but the move is sure to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of some drinkers.
“Usually you’re going to notice that,” Williamsburg bartender Erik Lane, 31, said of the lowering in proof. “If I started putting a half shot of water in the bottom of everyone’s beer just to make the keg last longer they’d notice.”
“I don’t think the proof really matters [for a drink to be enjoyable]. But when that’s your reason for doing it, I just think that’s a cheap business practice,” Lane, an occasional Maker’s Mark imbiber, added.
It is unclear when the watered-down beverages will hit the market.
A spokesman for Maker’s Mark did not immediately reply to a request for comment.