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NeoTexan
02-08-2013, 11:10
I have received some PM's in regards to some rumors regarding MM so I thought I would make this post and set things straight.

In the near future MM will be distributing it's bourbon at 84 proof.

This decision was made due to the demand for MM outstripping the production. For a couple of months MM has been struggling with how to handle the increased demand. As you know, the bourbon being put into bottles now was produced about six years ago and although the production at that time was increased, it still has not keep up with the increase in demand. Testing was done to see if bottling at a younger age would cure some of these growing pains but it was discarded because the taste profile was not up to MM standards. Additional consumer testing showed that reducing the proof did not affect the profile (other than less alcohol burn) and allowed for a greater number of bottles to be filled per barrel.

In conclusion, it was a decision between reducing the proof or not having enough product for the shelves.

squire
02-08-2013, 11:15
Sorry, I can't read your post. The color of the type fades into the background.

BradleyC
02-08-2013, 11:17
I would have gone the "not enough product for the shelves" route.

squire
02-08-2013, 11:18
What's the post say?

stevegoz
02-08-2013, 11:20
It says the following....


I have received some PM's in regards to some rumors regarding MM so I thought I would make this post and set things straight.


In the near future MM will be distributing it's bourbon at 84 proof.


This decision was made due to the demand for MM outstripping the production. For a couple of months MM has been struggling with how to handle the increased demand. As you know, the bourbon being put into bottles now was produced about six years ago and although the production at that time was increased, it still has not keep up with the increase in demand. Testing was done to see if bottling at a younger age would cure some of these growing pains but it was discarded because the taste profile was not up to MM standards. Additional consumer testing showed that reducing the proof did not affect the profile (other than less alcohol burn) and allowed for a greater number of bottles to be filled per barrel.


In conclusion, it was a decision between reducing the proof or not having enough product for the shelves.

p_elliott
02-08-2013, 11:20
Another screwing by Jbglobal another reason not to buy their products

JB Just remember ND fell from number 1 to nothing

squire
02-08-2013, 11:22
You tell 'em Paul.

Rockefeller
02-08-2013, 11:36
Why wasn't one of the options: increase the price until supply/demand reaches an equilibrium?

luther.r
02-08-2013, 11:49
Sorry, I can't read your post. The color of the type fades into the background.

Any time you can't read a post due to the color, highlight it like you're going to copy/paste. That should give you the contrast to read it.

soad
02-08-2013, 12:07
Crap!! Hording Mode!! My local store has 17 bottles, going to buy them ALL!!!

Get the keys!!!.....wait....I have a bottle of OWA in the bunker....yummm....yummm.....what was this thread about???

portwood
02-08-2013, 12:09
Don't mess with the product - even if demand outstrips supply! Better to keep status quo and reap the future rewards from high demand or increase the price slightly, but don't mess with product quality!

The enthusiasts will notice and many will stop buying - no big deal. BUT, if the average Joe consumer notices they are doomed.

Gillman
02-08-2013, 12:12
Assuming all this will happen, another option was, keep the brand, and price, as they are and leave the demand unsatisfied until they can satisfy it in the normal way (by passage of time).

While I rarely buy the brand since in my opinion it is not what it was 20 and 30 years ago, this will give me even less reason to buy it. Disappointing.

Gary

VAGentleman
02-08-2013, 12:13
JD went from 90 proof to 86 then to 80 and it hasn't hurt their sales. I doubt the sales of MM will be hurt. The regular consumer won't notice or really care.

SFS
02-08-2013, 12:19
I don't drink it or buy it, so I have to ask -is it currently at 90 proof? The pictures on the website aren't the greatest. (That's code for my eyes are getting old.)

ebo
02-08-2013, 12:21
I'm not a big fan of MM, but I definitely won't be buying any now.

higgins
02-08-2013, 12:26
Yeah, it's currently 90. I usually keep a bottle around, mostly for guests who are casual bourbon drinkers. And I thought it was overpriced at 90 proof...

Tony
02-08-2013, 12:26
I don't drink it or buy it, so I have to ask -is it currently at 90 proof? The pictures on the website aren't the greatest. (That's code for my eyes are getting old.)

Yes it is currently 90 proof. I guess I will have to buy a few bottles to have around.

Best regards, Tony

petrel800
02-08-2013, 12:32
Do you think they will do a special waxing for the change in proof?

Brisko
02-08-2013, 12:33
I can't say it affects me because I never buy it, but I'm a lot less likely to buy it at a lower proof. On the other hand, I really like Maker's 46 and as long as they keep it at 94 proof I will buy it when it's on sale.

You guys missed the blindingly obvious third option: buy some wheated bourbon from HH or BT. It's not like their flavor profile is that special, I'm sure that the "regular consumer" wouldn't have noticed that either. Hell, if they filled it out with BT juice it would probably improve it. I suppose adding more water is cheaper, though.

I have to add, I'm a little surprised they'd go that route. Beam had a similar situation with Knob Creek and they just rode it out. In fact, they turned it into a (IMO) successful ad campaign.

smokinjoe
02-08-2013, 12:39
I have received some PM's in regards to some rumors regarding MM so I thought I would make this post and set things straight.

In the near future MM will be distributing it's bourbon at 84 proof.

This decision was made due to the demand for MM outstripping the production. For a couple of months MM has been struggling with how to handle the increased demand. As you know, the bourbon being put into bottles now was produced about six years ago and although the production at that time was increased, it still has not keep up with the increase in demand. Testing was done to see if bottling at a younger age would cure some of these growing pains but it was discarded because the taste profile was not up to MM standards. Additional consumer testing showed that reducing the proof did not affect the profile (other than less alcohol burn) and allowed for a greater number of bottles to be filled per barrel.

In conclusion, it was a decision between reducing the proof or not having enough product for the shelves.

Dale, will there be any change to MM46?

smknjoe
02-08-2013, 12:50
JD went from 90 proof to 86 then to 80 and it hasn't hurt their sales. I doubt the sales of MM will be hurt. The regular consumer won't notice or really care.

I think you nailed it. They seem to have a cult like following similar to Jack Daniels.

luther.r
02-08-2013, 12:53
I think you nailed it. They seem to have a cult like following similar to Jack Daniels.
Plus, I think most Makers fans like it for its "smoothness." This will only make it smoother.

I really wish MM would produce a premium product. Not a fake premium like 46, but a high (100+) proof, more mature bourbon. I think it could be amazing.

squire
02-08-2013, 12:56
They did produce a 101 proof as their top of the line for quite some time then quietly eased it out of the way for the lower proof expression.

squire
02-08-2013, 12:58
Didn't lower the price though.

smknjoe
02-08-2013, 13:02
They did produce a 101 proof as their top of the line for quite some time then quietly eased it out of the way for the lower proof expression.

When was that? I didn't really start drinking bourbon until the 90's and I don't remember seeing that anywhere.

smokinjoe
02-08-2013, 13:13
I hope this is out before Sampler. If so, I am going to conduct a blind tasting among iterations for everyone to participate in. I think it would be interesting to see the results. Maybe, throw in an unknown, too.

squire
02-08-2013, 13:19
I was introduced to the 101 by Bill Samuels Jr. at a tasting he hosted for a group of us in the late 70s. I noticed it was gradually being replaced about a decade later in the mid to late 80s. Didn't really pay it much attention, just an observation. Makers was one of those I kept around but didn't really use, my preference being for rye recipe Bourbons.

MyOldKyDram
02-08-2013, 13:30
More like Watermark.

squire
02-08-2013, 13:41
For the most part I think consumers equate a lack of alcohol burn with smoothness and view that as a sign of quality. That was also a hallmark of Old Fitzgerald which Makers set out to copy (literally) from the beginning. When Makers was sold to a National company (1984 I think) the brand got the advertizing it needed to take off. Makers was and still is good whisky and for the market it seeks I'm surprised they haven't gone to 80 proof before now.

Josh
02-08-2013, 14:31
Disappointing but,
1) It's only a decrease of 3% ABV
2) As others have said, they very well could have lowered it to 80°, but they didn't.
3) Their core market isn't going to care or even notice
4) They claim that they are not lowering the age of what is going in. If that's true and stays true, then that's good.
5) I forgot what 5 was going to be.

SFS
02-08-2013, 14:49
Disappointing but,
...
5) I forgot what 5 was going to be.

Is that code for "my brain is getting old"? :grin:

MauiSon
02-08-2013, 16:08
I'm looking forward to the price slashing that has always accompanied product changes in the past, at least it has in my area. I'll stock up on a couple bottles of the 'old' product at a >10% price discount, should it occur in this case.

I don't understand why Josh is seeming to treat this as a 'look on the bright side' opportunity. Dilution equals paying the same for less actual product. It's just like ice cream cartons going from 1/2 gal. to some fraction thereof with no price reduction, or candy bars getting lighter and lighter [and still seeing prices go up]. I guess it's all just a ploy to make us healthier, eh?

Clavius
02-08-2013, 17:14
Wow, just... wow.

I had some random guy tell me this about a week ago and I thought he was nuts.

callmeox
02-08-2013, 18:25
I'm looking forward to the price slashing that has always accompanied product changes in the past, at least it has in my area. I'll stock up on a couple bottles of the 'old' product at a >10% price discount, should it occur in this case.

I don't understand why Josh is seeming to treat this as a 'look on the bright side' opportunity. Dilution equals paying the same for less actual product. It's just like ice cream cartons going from 1/2 gal. to some fraction thereof with no price reduction, or candy bars getting lighter and lighter [and still seeing prices go up]. I guess it's all just a ploy to make us healthier, eh?

If I may be so bold as to answer for Josh:

He doesn't buy it, so he doesn't care what they do to it. :)

Kalessin
02-08-2013, 18:45
I still don't get it. I've said this before: I have never seen a less than plentiful supply of MM in every single liquor store that carries it in Massachusetts and the surrounding states. Ever. I see shelves of it everywhere I travel.

Is it possible that the "shortage" is just marketing BS?

callmeox
02-08-2013, 18:49
I still don't get it. I've said this before: I have never seen a less than plentiful supply of MM in every single liquor store that carries it in Massachusetts and the surrounding states. Ever. I see shelves of it everywhere I travel.

Is it possible that the "shortage" is just marketing BS?

I'm a skeptic by nature, but this was my thought as well.

michaelturtle1
02-08-2013, 18:55
My local hasn't had 1.75s of Makers in 8 months and it was his best selling bottle... MM is a commodity whiskey and I would believe if someone can't find it they will move onto another brand which I would assume is the reason they are trying to up stocks.. At least they didn't cut the age and tried to keep the same profile unlike WT rye dropping 20 Proof which killed a decent bottle

ebo
02-08-2013, 18:57
I still don't get it. I've said this before: I have never seen a less than plentiful supply of MM in every single liquor store that carries it in Massachusetts and the surrounding states. Ever. I see shelves of it everywhere I travel.

Is it possible that the "shortage" is just marketing BS?

Well, I bitch about the whisk(e)y selection in Ohio all the time. I have never been in any liquor store that didn't have a shelf full of MM, at any time of year.

Clavius
02-08-2013, 19:00
There has been a shortage of at least the 1.75L size here in Central KY.

MyOldKyDram
02-08-2013, 19:05
Plenty, and I do mean plenty of 750s to be had, though.

michaelturtle1
02-08-2013, 19:06
I know the whiskey monger fairly well at the "best" store around here and for the last year he has complained about MM availability, especially in the 1.75 size. I don't look for it when I am shopping but if it was enough of a problem for him to bring it up out of the blue there must be something to it

squire
02-08-2013, 19:20
I'll believe the shortage story when they share the love by lowering the price on the lower proof.

Josh
02-08-2013, 19:38
Is that code for "my brain is getting old"? :grin:

Yes! Having a wife and a two year old with a stomach virus in the same week does things to the brain too.



I don't understand why Josh is seeming to treat this as a 'look on the bright side' opportunity. Dilution equals paying the same for less actual product. It's just like ice cream cartons going from 1/2 gal. to some fraction thereof with no price reduction, or candy bars getting lighter and lighter [and still seeing prices go up]. I guess it's all just a ploy to make us healthier, eh?


If I may be so bold as to answer for Josh:

He doesn't buy it, so he doesn't care what they do to it. :)

I think that was supposed to be #5.

TheOakMonster
02-08-2013, 20:29
I still don't get it. I've said this before: I have never seen a less than plentiful supply of MM in every single liquor store that carries it in Massachusetts and the surrounding states. Ever. I see shelves of it everywhere I travel.

Is it possible that the "shortage" is just marketing BS?

Or, they're getting out ahead of the shortage, instead of waiting to they're completely sold out. Just because Makers is plentiful today doesn't mean it will be tommorrow, next week, or next month. MM knows how many barrels they have coming online in the next year and, clearly, it won't meet current demand levels, let alone account for future growth. And if people don't believe Makers is a growing brand, I'll just mention that our store's sales increased over 50% in 2012 over 2011. No other bourbon even came even close to that growth.

smokinjoe
02-08-2013, 20:37
Why wasn't one of the options: increase the price until supply/demand reaches an equilibrium?

Exactly, Rock. If one claims to be a "Premium" brand, act like one.
:toast:

HighHorse
02-08-2013, 20:38
Agree with Josh .. if it's only a 3% change in ABV .. how much is it going to impact SB's purchasing habits? From the posts so far .. not a huge favorite of big bourbon drinkers anyway. Makers, for me is a choice when .. as someone else once said .. I want a bourbon I don't have to think about. It's just an easy, relaxing bourbon .. and 3% won't change that much at all. I'm also guessing that the vast .. and I mean vast .. majority of purchasers are mixing it with coke or ginger ale anyway so .. what the hell??

squire
02-08-2013, 20:52
Wonder about the 84 , you know Beam chose that proof for the Jacob's Well line, must be something numerical about the average number of bottles they can get out of a six year old barrel.

smokinjoe
02-08-2013, 21:00
Agree with Josh .. if it's only a 3% change in ABV .. how much is it going to impact SB's purchasing habits? From the posts so far .. not a huge favorite of big bourbon drinkers anyway. Makers, for me is a choice when .. as someone else once said .. I want a bourbon I don't have to think about. It's just an easy, relaxing bourbon .. and 3% won't change that much at all. I'm also guessing that the vast .. and I mean vast .. majority of purchasers are mixing it with coke or ginger ale anyway so .. what the hell??

Agreed, (or hoping) that 3% won't make a big difference. But, "Premium" brands should not do this. My rudimentary math figures that the decreased proof will amount to another 840,000 750ml bottles available world-wide (based on current sales of 1 million 9-liter cases per year = 12,000,000 750's) BTW, if my numbers are FUBAR'd, just shoot me now. :D

Total increase in availability is nil. No reason to do it. Total revenue increase is what (if that's what this is about?)? $15 million? Peanuts to them. No reason to do it.

I love the whiskey. I hate the move.

T Comp
02-08-2013, 21:01
A thread open to the public for reading, that has 49 posts and 1,039 views since 12:10 today, on a bourbon that isn't otherwise mentioned much here says something. I'm going with what VAGentleman says.


JD went from 90 proof to 86 then to 80 and it hasn't hurt their sales. I doubt the sales of MM will be hurt. The regular consumer won't notice or really care.

kickert
02-08-2013, 21:03
JD went from 90 proof to 86 then to 80 and it hasn't hurt their sales. I doubt the sales of MM will be hurt. The regular consumer won't notice or really care.

I think you are spot on here and it is exactly what I was thinking. There aren't that many whiskey purists who have MM and JD as their go to whiskey. The people I know who always reach for it will probably agree that it the best part of the change is the less alcohol burn (it will make it smoother!!).

Restaurant man
02-08-2013, 21:05
Exactly, Rock. If one claims to be a "Premium" brand, act like one.
:toast:

I'm betting the "market research" is driving this thing:shithappens:. Shortage my ass :horseshit: The sentiment that it's only a 3% drop is exactly why they are doing it. it's only a "little" less. Plus we are taking the high road and not under-aging our whiskey. Aren't we swell? I don't buy makers even though I have no problem with what's in the bottle. I just find reasons to buy something else. But I absolutely guarantee our sales of makers mark will be unaffected by the drop in proof. :soapbox:To quote the great Steve Martin in "the jerk" "it's a profit deal"

qman22
02-08-2013, 21:51
I'm a MM hater, so I won't be losing any sleep over the change. Plus the people ordering it in bars mixed with coke can now drink more before getting sick!

tommyboy38
02-08-2013, 22:11
It is what it isn't.

OutlawSW
02-08-2013, 22:20
It is what it isn't.
1st time I saw that, go Bulls!

fishnbowljoe
02-08-2013, 23:59
If this is true, it reminds me of the Knob Creek drought from a couple or so years ago. Things the make you go hmmmmmmmmmmm.... :skep: By the way, I still saw KC on most shelves during that drought.

Gillman
02-09-2013, 04:48
When the product was originally formulated in about 1954, 100 proof was the gold standard because it was part of the bonded definition. Maker's was set at 90, perhaps because Jack Daniels was at the time, and/or Mr. Samuels felt that was the best balance point. So not 100 proof but close to it.

Fitzgerald was 100 proof in the 50's IIRC and Pappy was opposed to lowering it but proof drops finally came, however bonded Fitzgerald continued to be available. Jack Daniels in recent years has made higher proof products available, the SB and the odd 90 proof special edition. I vat my own Jack to get one at about 90 proof in fact. So I'm good with how Jack has handled it.

With Maker's 46 coming out, the pattern of making only one product because it was the best and/or they sold all they made changed, and will change again should a drop in proof occur. If they do it, they should retain the 90 proof as a limited edition and might as well add older bourbon to it or do whatever would result in the brandy-like taste I recall Maker's had 30 years ago. I'd rather pay more for that Maker's than the same money for a brand which IMO (while decent enough) does not resemble the brand as it was in the 70's and 80's. If they do this, it will be a win-win so to speak, or close enough for our side of the equation.

Gary

P.S. I am aware that a 101 proof version of Maker's was made available for a time. That is a good precedent to retain a form of the 90 version in fact, or heck, bring back the 101.

wmpevans
02-09-2013, 05:32
3.3% ABV and 6.6% proof!! Pretty big change to the whiskey.

I don't hate MM. It's just when your palette experiences so many other whiskies with more depth and dimension it seems simple.
Just another example of Beam being Beam, and just in it for mass production and maxing out the corporate buck.:hot: Their choice, and our choice not to buy the watered down juice.

I'll probably grab a couple of handles of the 90 proof and stick it in the bunker. I suspect 5 years from now when MM goes from 84 to 80 proof :rolleyes:I'll wish I had bunkered 10 handles.

Enoch
02-09-2013, 06:11
I'm betting the "market research" is driving this thing:shithappens:. Shortage my ass :horseshit: The sentiment that it's only a 3% drop is exactly why they are doing it. it's only a "little" less. Plus we are taking the high road and not under-aging our whiskey. Aren't we swell? I don't buy makers even though I have no problem with what's in the bottle. I just find reasons to buy something else. But I absolutely guarantee our sales of makers mark will be unaffected by the drop in proof. :soapbox:To quote the great Steve Martin in "the jerk" "it's a profit deal"

It seems that may want a larger proof differential between MM and M46 (84-94 vs 90-94) to justify the price differential, but don't want to say that so they "create" a shortage excuse.

ErikH
02-09-2013, 06:37
I don't buy the shortage excuse, either. I've never had any trouble finding it on the shelves; even in the liquor department of my local grocery store. Granted, what's available around Chicago might not reflect what's available elsewhere, but still.........

doubleblank
02-09-2013, 06:50
I wish I had a business where I could sell tap water for the price of whiskey.

Why not just do a national ad campaign suggesting that each buyer add a little water to their drinks to make that bottle of 90 proof last a little longer?

squire
02-09-2013, 07:53
In case you dusty hunters run across one (they made alot) Makers 101 has a gold wax cap instead of the standard red. In fact we called it Gold Makers. If you walked into one of our local liquor stores in say, 1980, and asked if they had Makers Mark they might reply with "do you want the red or the gold".

OscarV
02-09-2013, 09:25
Do you think they will do a special waxing for the change in proof?


:lol: Aw heck, why not?

squire
02-09-2013, 09:33
Don't hold your breath for that one.

Josh
02-09-2013, 09:34
As to whether the shortage is real, it's impossible to know one way or another without looking at the numbers ourselves. Some people seem to be assuming the worst just because it's Beam. But if it is for money, isn't making money what they're supposed to be doing?

One thing MM may be looking at is also growth. MM can be found pretty easily everywhere, but they want to keep it that way. American whiskey is continuing to grow domestically and overseas. They may be afraid of not being able to keep up.

As I said before (or somebody else said for me) I don't buy a lot of MM so it doesn't really get me worked up. When I do, it's at a bar or in the summer time to have something to sip after yardwork or while reading a book on the patio.

As for the tap water business, Randy, didn't they try to do that? Wasn't there a Weller Water at one time?

squire
02-09-2013, 09:39
Come to think of it there was a Jack Daniels bottled water at one time.

OscarV
02-09-2013, 10:32
It's not just MM, it seems like most bourbons are to young now.
All these new special releases are just over priced average whiskey.

cowdery
02-09-2013, 10:53
Everything they're saying is true. It's what they're not saying that is interesting.

Beam bought Maker's in 2005. In the package was an expansion plan, ready to go. Allied Domeq was about to pull the trigger but they got bought instead. Beam did some of the preliminary work, such as enlarging Maker's lake and upgrading their spent mash handling, but they have dragged their heels on the expansion itself, which will increase capacity by about 50%. I spoke with Rob Samuels this morning and he thinks they'll start the expansion "soon," but he doesn't know, and they've been saying "soon" for the last eight years.

Their first expansion, in 1996, cost $18.5 million. I've heard numbers for this one of $30 million or more. The plan is to do exactly what they did in 1996, which is build a third distillery exactly like the two they have now. Never seen the second distillery? Me neither, but I'm told it's just behind the original one. The fermenters are all stainless steel, not cypress, but otherwise it's identical.

The expansion, when it does come, will cost millions and will take at least five years to affect supply. Cutting the proof costs nothing and increases supply immediately. No one should be shocked or appalled to discover this is a for-profit business. Maker's is all about preserving the loyalty of its rabidly loyal core customers. Dale, who started this thread, is the most loyal Maker's drinker I know. He reported this without comment. The opinions of people who never or rarely buy Maker's don't really matter. It's people like Dale who matter. Well, Dale? How do you feel about 84 proof Maker's?

Rob says they're comfortable with this change, that it's the best way to relieve some of the demand pressure, and it doesn't change the taste, which is the main thing. Is that the main thing? Or is "same as it ever was" more important? Well, Maker's fans, what do you say?

jeffrey r
02-09-2013, 11:19
Just got the following e-mail:

Dear Maker’s Mark® Ambassador,

Lately we’ve been hearing from many of you that you’ve been having difficulty finding Maker’s Mark in your local stores. Fact is, demand for our bourbon is exceeding our ability to make it, which means we’re running very low on supply. We never imagined that the entire bourbon category would explode as it has over the past few years, nor that demand for Maker’s Mark would grow even faster.

We wanted you to be the first to know that, after looking at all possible solutions, we’ve worked carefully to reduce the alcohol by volume (ABV) by just 3%. This will enable us to maintain the same taste profile and increase our limited supply so there is enough Maker’s Mark to go around, while we continue to expand the distillery and increase our production capacity.

We have both tasted it extensively, and it’s completely consistent with the taste profile our founder/dad/grandfather, Bill Samuels, Sr., created nearly 60 years ago. We’ve also done extensive testing with Maker’s Mark drinkers, and they couldn’t tell a difference.

Nothing about how we handcraft Maker’s Mark has changed, from the use of locally sourced soft red winter wheat as the flavor grain, to aging the whisky to taste in air-dried American white oak barrels, to rotating our barrels during maturation, to hand-dipping every bottle in our signature red wax.

In other words, we’ve made sure we didn’t screw up your whisky.

By the way, if you have any comments or questions, as always, we invite you to drop us a line at rob@makersmark.com or bill@makersmark.com. Thanks for your support. And if you’ve got a little time on your hands, come down and see us at the distillery.

Sincerely,

Rob Samuels
Chief Operating Officer
Ambassador-in-Chief

darylld911
02-09-2013, 11:38
As others have said, not sure why they didn't just raise the price. Or I wonder if they DID try that in select markets and found that demand slumped more than they desired. True, they'll increase profit if the price is the same and they lower the proof . . . although I wonder if they're setting everyone up for a double whammy. "Oh my - demand has picked up beyond our expectations, so we're raising the price now to help"

squire
02-09-2013, 11:49
The words "they couldn't tell a difference" says it all.

MyOldKyDram
02-09-2013, 11:52
They should just ship some of the extra in KY to other places. Soooooo much at the store today, handles and all.

portwood
02-09-2013, 11:52
As others have said, not sure why they didn't just raise the price. Or I wonder if they DID try that in select markets and found that demand slumped more than they desired.
Not that Ontario is a good indicator - LCBO being a monopoly there is often no rhyme or reason for pricing decisions - but price went up about 10% before Christmas. Don't know if this has affected demand.

squire
02-09-2013, 12:34
Oh, I get it. Their whisky is sooo good they hafta lower the proof to increase supply so everybody can get some. As ruses go that's a pretty good one.

G-Rat
02-09-2013, 12:44
I'm new to understanding the economics of the bourbon industry but I would think that raising the price would have the adverse affect that they are looking for, which seems to be stable and continual growth in all of the markets they distribute to. Raising the price is much more drastic from the average consumers perspective (not the whiskey crowds perspective) than lowering the proof is. If they raise the price in all markets they are still left with a shortage of whiskey, which in the long run hurts their brand more and the stability of that brand. In fact if they raised the price, wouldn't they be creating the same sort of situation (on a smaller scale) that they are in now? Less sales of their whiskey to the general public? Just a thought. Seems rather smart to me from a business perspective. I also think the letter he wrote is actually good relational capital for the average whiskey drinker. Puts a nice shine on something that will probably be an "experimental buy" for the devoted fan, to make sure it doesn't suck. IT SHOULD BE NOTED...I don't drink Maker's Mark. I just don't like it and I think it is already overpriced...I just don't think anyone is trying to pull wool over anyone's eyes. When you buy a product you aren't just paying for the product, they are also building the cost of them building a successful business into the cost of the product...at least I would hope they would be. Thats what a consumer always pays for. Who knows I might like it better at 86 proof...but probably not...

msk2718
02-09-2013, 13:11
While I enjoy lots of other bourbons, Maker's Mark is a sentimental favorite. It's sad to hear about this change.

In my opinion, it's hard to see how this won't hurt the brand. ("No changes, no compromises...", etc.). As for the alternative of raising the price, unless they lower the suggested retail, they are raising the price by selling more water.

cowdery
02-09-2013, 14:06
If you haven't bought a bottle of Maker's Mark in the last 30 days, what you think doesn't matter.

And another thing.

Enough with the outrage.

Whenever one of these capitalist companies does what a good business does, the bourbon enthusiasts all turn into communists. It's spin, sure, trying to put the best face on something they know a lot of people won't like, but there is nothing immoral, unethical, dishonest, or stupid about it.

MyOldKyDram
02-09-2013, 14:16
I'd buy some just so that I could maintain my bitching rights, but I doubt I'd be able to find any.

JPBoston
02-09-2013, 14:24
If you haven't bought a bottle of Maker's Mark in the last 30 days, what you think doesn't matter.

And another thing.

Enough with the outrage.

Whenever one of these capitalist companies does what a good business does, the bourbon enthusiasts all turn into communists. It's spin, sure, trying to put the best face on something they know a lot of people won't like, but there is nothing immoral, unethical, dishonest, or stupid about it.

I don't think anyone has said they want to FORCE their opinion on MM, so your comparison to communism is quite silly. They're simply venting that a staple of the bourbon-world is lowering their quality and that sad fact bums them out. I've seen no call-to-arms for fellow SB'ers to gather their pitchforks and Molotov-cocktails and head for Kentucky. I've seen no one asking how we can lobby congress to stop this from happening. I don't know, maybe I missed a few of the more entertaining posts.

But I HAVE skimmed a few posts bemoaning the point of business practices and how the simpletons who are upset just don't 'get it'... which comes off as masturbation at best and condescending blow-hardery (new word, deal with it) at worst. Little newsflash for you, someone can be annoyed at how a business decision affects them or their hobby, while still UNDERSTANDING the business reasons behind it.

This IS a bourbon forum after all... Where else are bourbon hobbyists going to vent? If we wanted to debate business ethics, practice and strategy, we'd be posting on the Forbes forum.

JPBoston
02-09-2013, 14:25
I'd buy some just so that I could maintain my bitching rights, but I doubt I'd be able to find any.

LMAO!!

*geting around posting minimum guidelines, please ignore. *

camduncan
02-09-2013, 14:29
Geez, it's been 80 proof (in a 700ml bottle) here in Australia for the last 3-5 years, and we have to pay an average of $40 if we want to enjoy the only wheated bourbon available on our market. I'd take what you guys are being offered at the prices you pay in a heartbeat!

theglobalguy
02-09-2013, 14:30
I'd buy some just so that I could maintain my bitching rights, but I doubt I'd be able to find any.

Could picket in front of the distillery, but Chuck does seem to have a point.

Now, when they push the laws to be changed to hide the proof...then i'll get pissed. Still have respect for Maker's as it was my first bourbon and my first distillery tour.

squire
02-09-2013, 14:32
I'd forgotten about that Cam . . . I feel your pain brother.

MyOldKyDram
02-09-2013, 14:34
Could picket in front of the distillery, but Chuck does seem to have a point.

Nah, I really and truly do not give a rip. I don't think most people here do. Just busting some Maker's balls. I'm sure they'll get over it.

G-Rat
02-09-2013, 14:36
If you haven't bought a bottle of Maker's Mark in the last 30 days, what you think doesn't matter.

And another thing.

Enough with the outrage.

Whenever one of these capitalist companies does what a good business does, the bourbon enthusiasts all turn into communists. It's spin, sure, trying to put the best face on something they know a lot of people won't like, but there is nothing immoral, unethical, dishonest, or stupid about it.

Please note that I definitely agree with you. When I said "puts a nice shine on it..." in reference to Bill Samuels letter I meant it positively not negatively. To me this is what happens when you make a product that people want to buy and want to distribute it to an enormously large market...these companies play an amazing balancing act to put out a great product at a high volume and at a price point that sustains their companies growth over the long haul. So the fact they dropped the proof to stay in the market is what happens to get that much whiskey out there. For instance, EWB black is honestly the Holy Grail of bourbons (aside from VOB or EW White Label...or fighting cock...can you tell whose bourbon I like!?). $20 a handle where I'm at. That's outrageous. And its distributed all over the world. But it used to have an age statement (although I found a dusty old 7yr age stated and didn't think it was too different) used to be 90 proof. But its hard to do something at that high of a level and not have the forces of entropy massively at work against you. I'm still glad I can get it for the same price it used to be because to me it still tastes like Evan Williams. I think we can all agree the large majors do something quite amazing in creating a consistent product that still has artisan roots that doesn't cost an arm and a leg...makes me tear up a little with gratitude...

That being said...sometimes a little communist social anger and outrage creates a challenge that forces things to happen. Enter small artisan distillers...these folks end up pushing the majors to do things they never really would have without their presence. For instance JD's making rye whiskey for the first time ever...and is gouging people for the white dog because the little guys have created a demand for it. I think a little of both is good. With the majors though I think we should expect this sort of thing to happen. I'll still respect the people who I think do it better (ahem...HH...)

...well maybe holy grail is a little strong...I just like it i guess is the point.

End rant.

doubleblank
02-09-2013, 14:53
Hey Josh......there is a pic posted somewhere deep on this sight of the Weller Water to add to your Weller Bourbon. I recall even seeing an ad for it in Texas Monthly a long long time ago. It might be found in a search of Texas Monthly's online records.

cowdery
02-09-2013, 16:44
I am silly and I do masturbate, so I guess I can't take too much offense at JPBoston's just-a-little-too-hostile response to my earlier post. I will point out, however, that quite a few of the posts in this thread have accused Maker's Mark of dishonesty, at least, so I stand by my critique.

To which I would add that I frequently am frustrated by people who attack people and companies and governments for the wrong things, such as in this case where the right thing to attack Beam for, assuming they sincerely regret the need to cheapen Maker's Mark, is for failing to avert the problem years ago, which they did by postponing the distillery's planned expansion for more than eight years.

I would also point out that metaphorical masturbation is never as enjoyable as the real thing.

SFS
02-09-2013, 16:50
Thanks for that Cam (#80, I mean). It reminded me that perspective is everything, and different for everybody.

shoshani
02-09-2013, 17:39
In the long run of things, it's not the first nor will it be the last time a major whisky, even a historic one, has lowered its proof. The question is whether the proof will ever return to its old strength, which is not addressed in the Ambassadors' letter I received via email.

Jimmy Russell, by contrast, is adamant that the only reason he doesn't have a 101 rye on the shelves at the moment is because he doesn't have enough stocks that have aged to his liking for the 101 profile, and when he does it will be back. I hope the same is true eventually for Maker's, which is admittedly one of those bourbons I keep on hand because I feel my shelf is naked without it, even though I drink far more OWA.

squire
02-09-2013, 18:40
I thought the Rye 101 was four years old, according to an interview with Mr. Russell that I read some 20 or so years back.

Clavius
02-09-2013, 20:25
I guess this means MM will be changing the advertising on their cases:

http://i638.photobucket.com/albums/uu105/mnosam/2BB9AE1B-3D4D-4944-AC67-95D2EBDD1912-2387-000005EA95666D08_zps89382798.jpg

squire
02-09-2013, 20:27
Be careful what you commit to writing.

shoshani
02-09-2013, 21:12
I thought the Rye 101 was four years old, according to an interview with Mr. Russell that I read some 20 or so years back.

Jim Murray's whiskey books from the late 1990s maintained that it was four years, but in that video that was linked here on the SB forums, I believe he said he likes it around 6. I haven't watched it recently so could be misremembering, but he definitely said in there that as soon as they have rye stocks aged enough, 101 will return.

JPBoston
02-09-2013, 22:08
I am silly and I do masturbate, so I guess I can't take too much offense at JPBoston's just-a-little-too-hostile response to my earlier post. I will point out, however, that quite a few of the posts in this thread have accused Maker's Mark of dishonesty, at least, so I stand by my critique.


"Too hostile" --

Coming from the guy who called his fellow SB'ers "communists" and telling them their opinion (of bourbon) doesn't matter (on a bourbon forum). Go figure.

But I'm done arguing as I have no horse in this race. MM isn't bad (imo of course), but doesn't stand up to anything else in its price range (even at 90 proof). Can't find a way to blame fans and other enthusiasts for venting though, as lower proof at the same price is never a good thing for us, the consumers.

macdeffe
02-09-2013, 22:21
It has been mentioned that a cut of 3% isn't much

Here are some maths which I based on the whisky being 60% from the cask (http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.dk/2013/02/why-is-makers-mark-watering-its-whiskey.html)

Lowering the proof will expand number of bottles with around 7%

45% ABV MM holds 25% water and 75% whisky. Thats 18.75cl per bottle

42% ABV MM holds 30% water and 70% whisky. Thats 22,50cl per bottle

This means, if I haven't messed up my calculations (very likely) that every bottle of Makers mark will hold 6.6% less pure whisky

Steffen

macdeffe
02-09-2013, 22:25
WHich made me think

The 75cl bottles are going from 56.25cl whisky to 52.50cl whisky

Why don't they just start bottling it all as 50cl cask strength. This will give even more bottles and have a huge enviromental impact as shipping water around the globe is kinda silly seen from an enviromental point of view

Steffen

mrt
02-10-2013, 05:53
http://qz.com/#52478/makers-mark-waters-down-its-bourbon-to-meet-rising-demand/
Here's the link I accessed via Linkedin. Hopefully they will not make JBW 37% ABV :)
Regards,

barturtle
02-10-2013, 05:58
Not only are they putting 6.5% less stuff out of a barrel in each bottle (and charging you the same), but they are also paying less in excise taxes for each of those bottles...this could nearly double the 6.5% figure as far as profit goes...money grab.

squire
02-10-2013, 06:53
Has anyone done a direct taste comparison of the regular MM with the 37.5 % expression available overseas?

funknik
02-10-2013, 07:56
I think you are spot on here and it is exactly what I was thinking. There aren't that many whiskey purists who have MM and JD as their go to whiskey. The people I know who always reach for it will probably agree that it the best part of the change is the less alcohol burn (it will make it smoother!!).
I think Ben makes a good point. Even my friends who consider themselves "whiskey drinkers" don't tend to know what proof the whiskeys they drink are bottled at . . . I think the typical MM drinker will not notice at all (certainly not by the taste) - even if it's pointed out to them. Plus, they'll be saving money on Coke and Ginger Ale. :cool:

ebo
02-10-2013, 08:08
For those of you that have tasted the gold wax version of MM..... is it substantially better than the red wax?

Another thing..... why wouldn't MM put the gold wax back on the market as maybe a once a year release for the enthusiast? That seems like a smart move to me, instead of alienating a segment of your customers, albeit a small one. I suppose that when that small segment doesn't really matter to your bottom line, that probably isn't something that they would even consider, unfortunately.

T Comp
02-10-2013, 08:25
Here's another angle that comes to me from an excellent and you should read two page article in today's Chicago Tribune "Beam's new zest". Woman!

There is a seperate boxed headline within the article entittled "Women are key to sprits growth" which starts out with describing a woman wine drinker changing over to Maker's with water. "A big part of Deerfield-based Beam's growth trajectory can be pegged to the increasing importance of the female consumer."..."but bourbon-makers like Beam also see as opportunity with female consumers and flavors to grow bourbon's 11 percent overall share".

The Tribune is now a pay site so I'm not linking but the article describes how precise growing Beam market share with innovation, research and marketing now is including the importance of the renovated Clermont Campus and its Global Innovation Center.

barturtle
02-10-2013, 09:28
I think Ben makes a good point. Even my friends who consider themselves "whiskey drinkers" don't tend to know what proof the whiskeys they drink are bottled at . . . I think the typical MM drinker will not notice at all (certainly not by the taste) - even if it's pointed out to them. Plus, they'll be saving money on Coke and Ginger Ale. :cool:

However, a lot of those drinkers do buy it because of its tradition of quality (either real or imagined) They think that is has been unchanged all these years, something the Makers has been proud to feed. This is a substantially visible change that goes against the lore of the company. Those loyal customers feel cheated and lied to.

OscarV
02-10-2013, 09:29
Beam bought Maker's in 2005. In the package was an expansion plan, ready to go. Allied Domeq was about to pull the trigger but they got bought instead. Beam did some of the preliminary work, such as enlarging Maker's lake and upgrading their spent mash handling, but they have dragged their heels on the expansion itself, which will increase capacity by about 50%. I spoke with Rob Samuels this morning and he thinks they'll start the expansion "soon," but he doesn't know, and they've been saying "soon" for the last eight years.



The delay of the 3rd expansion is far more troubling than the proof change.
Is there any other reason besides the 30 million dollars that they keep delaying the expansion?
Do they see an end to the current growth of bourbon, a bottoming out or even a decrease in sales?
Is BeamGlobal going to continue to downgrade MM in the future if sales continue to grow?

This proof change is typical of the worse type of business philosophy that to many American companies have.
They are only concerned with the next P&L statement, the next quarter, the next end of the month.
To have a healthy business you have to invest for the future.
A long term outlook is the best but today's current board member's and ceo's of most companies want to cash in today, which is 100% their right.

I was under the impression that MM was already into this 3rd expansion.
I was hoping in 10 years or so we would get mature barrel proof single barrels from MM.
Guess we can kiss that silly dream good-bye.

CADMixes
02-10-2013, 09:37
Not much of a Maker's drinker here but this is motivating me to grab a bottle of 90 proof next time I see one for a reasonable price. So I guess this news will result in them selling one more bottle than they would have otherwise.

squire
02-10-2013, 09:45
Oscar I'd say it's more the nature of the whisky business rather than something American companies practice. The Scots are as tradition bound as any distilling culture and I've seen their Single Malts go from 94 to 86 to 80 proof within different brands over the last 35+ years.

At least we can still get Bonded Bourbons at a reasonable cost.

Barrel_Proof
02-10-2013, 10:02
I guess this means I will actually put a few bottles of the 46 proof stuff in the bunker.

squire
02-10-2013, 10:19
Generally I'm in favor of stockpiling liquor supplies but think I'll pass on MM. I'm saving those dollars in case Rock Hill Farms goes on closeout.

cowdery
02-10-2013, 13:13
I believe this hurts the brand. Obviously, from the way they announced and are spinning it, they think it's something they can survive. It's that idea that people buy brands, not specifications. If the Jack Daniel's experience is relevant, and I think it may be, there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth, but sales won't miss a beat.

I think for the people they claim to care about the most, the devoted Maker's drinker (yes, you, Dale), it makes the brand a little less special. It doesn't blow the whole thing out of the water, but it's a chink in the armor. If you always thought Maker's was different, they just became a little less different. There is no Santa Claus, all professional athletes cheat, and even though Ashley Judd and Scarlett Johansson are both single again, they are more likely to get together with each other than with me. It's a cold, cruel world.

The more you know, especially about the delayed expansion, the more disingenuous their explanations sound. I hope they're paying Rob Samuels a boatload of money, because this has to suck for him especially. If he needs a lesson in how to shut up and enjoy his membership in the lucky sperm club, he should talk to Fred Noe.

Gillman
02-10-2013, 13:29
I buy MM about twice every year, the reason being, I want to see if it can come closer to what I recall from 30 years ago than it's been for some time. I do that with all brands (Beam Black is next). Sometimes it pays off, e.g. Jack Daniels, despite the proof drop, is a better whiskey IMO than 10 years ago. All HH bourbon is better IMO than 10-15 years ago. Profiles evolve, either intentionally or through a drift of some kind, so it's good to check in. This change gives me less incentive to do so than before. I think they are going the wrong way on this, and that Maker's 46 was a mistake - it would have been better to bring back 101 or the kind of palate I remember from back in the day as a limited edition.

Gary

ILLfarmboy
02-10-2013, 13:56
Well, I hope they don't drop the proof on the '46. I quite like it, and buy it ocationaly.

While I don't buy the regular MM I do ocationaly have some in a bar or restaurant.

And, yeah, I'll bitch about the proof drop even though I rarely buy any, 'CAUSE I WOULD BUY IT MORE OFTEN IF THEY WENT THE OTHER WAY WITH THE PROOF!

ILLfarmboy
02-10-2013, 14:00
and that Maker's 46 was a mistake - it would have been better to bring back 101 or the kind of palate I remember from back in the day as a limited edition.

Gary

I never had the pleasure of trying the 101 but I welcomed the '46 as a step in the right direction.

squire
02-10-2013, 14:10
They have gone the other way in the past, the black label Japanese export expression was 95 proof with a richer, bolder taste profile, now discontinued. Apparently it's been determined the way they're going now is the most profitable.

smokinjoe
02-10-2013, 17:40
How bout this solution MM/Beam?: Take all of the special wax iterations that you put out every year, that never even get opened, and fill them with caramel colored water. Therefore, your "Rabid Fans" won't be impacted at all. They'll never know the difference. :rolleyes: Save the real whiskey for the regular bottles that plain folks like me buy and drink all the time. Or maybe, I've been wrong all of these years....

I'll try it. I'll determine for myself if I'll continue to buy it. But, as a loyal Maker's whiskey drinker, I am extremely disappointed in this move. I have been longing and hoping for moves in the other direction...

Dammit!!

OscarV
02-10-2013, 17:45
Is the new 84 proof MM be using pink wax instead of red?

cowdery
02-10-2013, 17:48
No, they're changing out the hand-dipped wax for a plastic shrink-wrap capsule with red wax printed on it, that can be applied by a machine. But that's the last change, honest.

Big boy pants here. Maker's Mark is a major and mature brand, even though it's growing. It won't be growing for long if they can't supply it, and the 'badge' that is Maker's Mark to the Maker's Mark consumer, doesn't hinge on proof. The Daniel's proof cut dragged on because they never went big with it, so people were discovering it for a year. Now is a different time, media-wise, too. This will flame up over the next week or so and then it will be over.

And they still won't have built the third distillery that could have averted or, at least, postponed this.

Which, to me, is the mystery, making me wonder if they think Maker's has peaked. There has never been a million-case high end bourbon before. Could they be afraid of flying too close to the sun?

smokinjoe
02-10-2013, 18:11
No, they're changing out the hand-dipped wax for a plastic shrink-wrap capsule with red wax printed on it, that can be applied by a machine. But that's the last change, honest.

Big boy pants here. Maker's Mark is a major and mature brand, even though it's growing. It won't be growing for long if they can't supply it, and the 'badge' that is Maker's Mark to the Maker's Mark consumer, doesn't hinge on proof. The Daniel's proof cut dragged on because they never went big with it, so people were discovering it for a year. Now is a different time, media-wise, too. This will flame up over the next week or so and then it will be over.

And they still won't have built the third distillery that could have averted or, at least, postponed this.

Which, to me, is the mystery, making me wonder if they think Maker's has peaked. There has never been a million-case high end bourbon before. Could they be afraid of flying too close to the sun?

Maybe, Maker's has peaked. OK. But, it's still a great "brand". Companies would give their left wingnut to have the brand recognition that Maker's possesses. I would expand, and keep with the line-extension they began with the 46. I'm not sure of a better brand from a marketing standpoint, to raise the bar into the uber-dollar, uber-premium, segment with. Can you? I can't think but that they are so shortsightedly cheapening this good name...You're right Chuck, this is a mystery...So many things just not right, here. These ain't dumb people. What gives?

HighInTheMtns
02-10-2013, 18:19
How bout this solution MM/Beam?: Take all of the special wax iterations that you put out every year, that never even get opened, and fill them with caramel colored water. Therefore, your "Rabid Fans" won't be impacted at all. They'll never know the difference. :rolleyes:
I buy these when I see 'em, and then I drink them. I figure I'm increasing the rarity for the collectors :-D

Barrel_Proof
02-10-2013, 18:21
None of this gets my bowels in an uproar. I will put a few bottles of the original proofers in the bunker and forget about them. Come to think of it, however, now the bottle wax freaks will think their bottles are REALLY special. Ha!

stevegoz
02-10-2013, 18:23
How bout this solution MM/Beam?: Take all of the special wax iterations that you put out every year, that never even get opened, and fill them with caramel colored water.

Start with the 375 ml "dip your own" bottles at the gift shop.

Leopold
02-10-2013, 18:26
Big boy pants here. Maker's Mark is a major and mature brand, even though it's growing. It won't be growing for long if they can't supply it, and the 'badge' that is Maker's Mark to the Maker's Mark consumer, doesn't hinge on proof. The Daniel's proof cut dragged on because they never went big with it, so people were discovering it for a year. Now is a different time, media-wise, too. This will flame up over the next week or so and then it will be over.

And they still won't have built the third distillery that could have averted or, at least, postponed this.

Which, to me, is the mystery, making me wonder if they think Maker's has peaked. There has never been a million-case high end bourbon before. Could they be afraid of flying too close to the sun?

I think that our former chocolate-man CEO Shattock has bigger fish to fry. The cost to expand a distillery to handle a conservative 7% annual increase is a laughable non-expense if you're thinking long term. This looks like a binary decision made by a crew that has had to deal with hostile takeover rumors from day one. These are chess pieces that are moving, and for many of these people, there's no such thing as long term.

T Comp
02-10-2013, 18:40
I think that our former chocolate-man CEO Shattock has bigger fish to fry. The cost to expand a distillery to handle a conservative 7% annual increase is a laughable non-expense if you're thinking long term. This looks like a binary decision made by a crew that has had to deal with hostile takeover rumors from day one. These are chess pieces that are moving, and for many of these people, there's no such thing as long term.

Agree. This is about Beam not Makers. Since Beam split from Fortune they have exceeded analyst's expectations and their shares have grown 40%. But sales of 2.5 billion are a shadow in the rear view mirror of Diageo's 14.4 billion. Beams spending more money than ever on advertising (up 11% this year and 20% last quarter) for a reason along with what's going on at Makers.

shoshani
02-10-2013, 18:42
Meh. I bought a 1.75l last night at my little hole-in-the-wall, opened it, removed all the pesky wax, and am now savoring a small shot as I read this ironic passage in But Always Fine Bourbon:


"The best advice Pappy ever gave my father", Bill (Samuels Jr.) said, "was to make a premium product, and to keep it in short supply. I can thank your grandfather for that as long as I live." (emphasis mine)

That was then, this is now.

Gillman
02-10-2013, 18:51
I have no problems with the 46 in and of itself; I just don't think it should have come next in the line (3rd or 4th maybe). 2nd should have been a bonded, 101 or barrel proof Maker's. 3rd could have been a more-aged Makers. Especially with MM dropping proof, a "high-end" version would make good sense.

Personally I think the decision was purely financial, to increase earnings from the brand in the near-term. This would accord with the pricing of MM, which is fairly high IMO for what it is, but clearly they are getting it and haven't melted their wings yet.

Gary

smknjoe
02-10-2013, 18:53
Meh. I bought a 1.75l last night at my little hole-in-the-wall, opened it, removed all the pesky wax, and am now savoring a small shot as I read this ironic passage in But Always Fine Bourbon:

(emphasis mine)

That was then, this is now.

I guess I'll have to read this now. It's only ~$10 (ebook) at B&N.

Bourbon Boiler
02-10-2013, 18:55
I don't mind this move at all. I often call MM the "entry" bourbon, and a lower proof will make it all the more pallatable for the non-whiskey drinker. I keep MM around for the sole purpose of giving people a "drinkable" whiskey when others are drinking the special WT products and BTAC. I think that purpose won't be lost.

Now, if I were a MM fan, I would understandably be upset. "I can provide my own water," is a pretty sound argument.

Bourbon Boiler
02-10-2013, 18:56
"The best advice Pappy ever gave my father", Bill (Samuels Jr.) said, "was to make a premium product, and to keep it in short supply. I can thank your grandfather for that as long as I live."

Nice find Shoshani, very apropos.

squire
02-10-2013, 19:05
Sound advise but the Samuels family hasn't been making the decisions at MM for about 30 years now.

White Dog
02-10-2013, 19:20
Maybe, Maker's has peaked. OK. But, it's still a great "brand". Companies would give their left wingnut to have the brand recognition that Maker's possesses. I would expand, and keep with the line-extension they began with the 46. I'm not sure of a better brand from a marketing standpoint, to raise the bar into the uber-dollar, uber-premium, segment with. Can you? I can't think but that they are so shortsightedly cheapening this good name...You're right Chuck, this is a mystery...So many things just not right, here. These ain't dumb people. What gives?

I've been thinking that while reading this entire thread. While I'm no great fan of Sazerac, can you imagine what that company would have done with this brand, rather than Beam.:bigeyes:

ErichPryde
02-10-2013, 21:24
Less whiskey going into the bottles of maker's mark, more whiskey they have to age, potentially, for another release other than 46. I can dream.

oke&coke
02-11-2013, 00:17
Always passed up Makers because I always figured it would be around so could grab it any time. May have to grab a bottle before the change shows up here.

squire
02-11-2013, 00:46
I can't count the number of times I've left something on the shelf thinking I would get it on another trip. People say it's never too late, how wrong they are.

Rockefeller
02-11-2013, 07:59
Does anyone have a sense of the quality of water MM will be using to dilute/cheapen their product? Mineral, spring, mountain melt, filtered tap?

Josh
02-11-2013, 08:06
Does anyone have a sense of the quality of water MM will be using to dilute/cheapen their product? Mineral, spring, mountain melt, filtered tap?

They draw their water from a spring-fed pond on the property. I assume its filtered.

jeffrey r
02-11-2013, 08:14
I had wondered whether BT and Heaven Hill might capitalize on this MM proof change, and BT answered my question this morning with a Facebook post stating that they do not water down their bourbon, linking to an article about the MM change. Then, curiously, they just pulled the post.

Having no links to the industry or the region, I am curious if the big distilleries view each other as brethren or rivals, but I wonder if BT got squeamish about calling out MM.

In any event, this would seem like a reasonable opportunity for HH to call out their 92-proof Larceny, and BT to call out the obvious age and proof benefits of the Weller line. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

BourbonJoe
02-11-2013, 08:23
I've been thinking that while reading this entire thread. While I'm no great fan of Sazerac, can you imagine what that company would have done with this brand, rather than Beam.:bigeyes:

I think the Beam's are getting greedy.
Joe :usflag:

Josh
02-11-2013, 08:24
That is kind of silly for BT to say that. Of course they water it down. All of them do.

HighInTheMtns
02-11-2013, 08:24
I had wondered whether BT and Heaven Hill might capitalize on this MM proof change, and BT answered my question this morning with a Facebook post stating that they do not water down their bourbon, linking to an article about the MM change. Then, curiously, they just pulled the post.

Having no links to the industry or the region, I am curious if the big distilleries view each other as brethren or rivals, but I wonder if BT got squeamish about calling out MM.

In any event, this would seem like a reasonable opportunity for HH to call out their 92-proof Larceny, and BT to call out the obvious age and proof benefits of the Weller line. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.
They were wise to have pulled it; they have done the same thing in the past (ER10/101 for one) and probably can't say whether they will again. Same with HH (Evan Williams Black) although I do agree that they could use proof as a selling point for Larceny.

Josh
02-11-2013, 08:25
They were wise to have pulled it; they have done the same thing in the past (ER10/101 for one) and probably can't say whether they will again. Same with HH (Evan Williams Black) although I do agree that they could use proof as a selling point for Larceny.

Excellent point on the ER 101!

jeffrey r
02-11-2013, 08:28
Agreed on the wording of BT's post. It came off a bit disingenuous when I read it to be honest. They should be touting their products, rather than calling out the practice of watering down bourbon, which all of these guys do to some extent.

Rockefeller
02-11-2013, 08:29
Say what you will about the Pappy craze/availability, but when faced with the choice of putting out the better product vs producing 18% more bottles ... they chose to discontinue the ORVW10/90.

barturtle
02-11-2013, 08:38
One thing I've noticed is lots of people saying "it's just Maker's, who cares"

Well, I think we all should.

Maker's has been preaching "no changes, no compromise" longer than anyone, and I think they should be held to their own standard.

If they can get by with this change without anyone giving a shit, then so can any of your favorites.

Write to Bill and Rob expressing your displeasure in them sacrificing their own long espoused values and traditions. Publicly post on fb, twitter and your blogs.

T Comp
02-11-2013, 08:38
Say what you will about the Pappy craze/availability, but when faced with the choice of putting out the better product vs producing 18% more bottles ... they chose to discontinue the ORVW10/90.

That struck me as a bit strange though, the discontinuing of the 90 proof ORVW. The Lot B and 20 year are still 90.4 proof. I understand the scarcity of the 20 but always wondered why the Lot B 12 year, sandwiched between the 10 and 15 year, is only 90.4 proof.

Rockefeller
02-11-2013, 08:55
Over/under the number of days before MM reverses its decision (if at all)? I'm reminded of this little failed campaign:
http://www.fastcompany.com/1179702/never-mind-pepsi-pulls-much-loathed-tropicana-packaging
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/business/media/23adcol.html?pagewanted=all

shoshani
02-11-2013, 09:01
I guess I'll have to read this now. It's only ~$10 (ebook) at B&N.

It has its own chapter on Maker's Mark and how it got started. BTW, at $10 I definitely suggest grabbing it. I paid $15 for my ebook, still far lower than the print version.

T Comp
02-11-2013, 09:10
A quick check of Google news shows the story is picking up steam beyond the bourbon world: Atlantic Magazine, Business Insider, CNN Money. Samuels double downed on the decision, yesterday, to Louisville's WFPL too.

bourbonandbacon
02-11-2013, 09:42
i dont buy makers for home since i generally have better options there, but find myself often ordering it when out at a bar or restaurant because A) it is widely available and even places that dont have a good whiskey selection, i.e. an Italian restaurant and B) because i like the consistency and knowing what i am getting. i guess at a certain point, maybe i stop ordering it, but will try the 84 proof before i make any big proclamations. in any event, the facebook page for makers is pretty entertaining to read. people are getting pretty up in arms about it

Rockefeller
02-11-2013, 09:49
Any chance they will regret this little post?

14743

ThirstyinOhio
02-11-2013, 09:57
Any chance they will regret this little post?

14743

Lol.... Serves them right.

squire
02-11-2013, 09:59
If there really is a shortage wouldn't that drive the price up?

Brisko
02-11-2013, 10:26
WHich made me think

The 75cl bottles are going from 56.25cl whisky to 52.50cl whisky

Why don't they just start bottling it all as 50cl cask strength. This will give even more bottles and have a huge enviromental impact as shipping water around the globe is kinda silly seen from an enviromental point of view

Steffen

That makes too much sense.

Rockefeller
02-11-2013, 10:47
Can someone of reasonable expertise explain the following:

- Did they arrive at the 3% dilution cut because at 4% there was a noticeable difference?
- Does the lack of perceivable difference translate across consumption methods? i.e., you may not be able to notice it when drinking neat, but does the same hold when drinking on ice, or mixed in a cocktail?

Josh
02-11-2013, 11:11
If there really is a shortage wouldn't that drive the price up?

Prices have been going up, at least around here. 750 mls went up by $2 back in October.

stevegoz
02-11-2013, 11:20
Why not just keep the current bottle size, put a shot or so less in the bottle itself (while noting the actual quantity on the label -- 700ml or whatever; I don't do math on Mondays) and ultimately give the consumer the option to add the water to get to the full 750ml of 84 proof bourbon should s/he choose? :lol:

callmeox
02-11-2013, 11:23
Standard sizes in the US don't include 500 or 700ml options.

Lazer
02-11-2013, 11:24
I don't care about the environmental stuff (sorry) but this is the way I would like to buy my bourbon. 50cl cask strength. If every distillery started doing this I would feel like a kid in a candy store. :grin:


WHich made me think

The 75cl bottles are going from 56.25cl whisky to 52.50cl whisky

Why don't they just start bottling it all as 50cl cask strength. This will give even more bottles and have a huge enviromental impact as shipping water around the globe is kinda silly seen from an enviromental point of view

Steffen

The Boozer
02-11-2013, 11:32
TPS lists the quantity of MM stock as 417 bottles of 750ml, 773 bottles of 1.0L and 150 bottles of 1.5L. I wonder if they know something we don't.

Gillman
02-11-2013, 11:32
Bill Samuels, Jr. has a message about the change on the Makers Mark website, in the News area:

http://www.makersmark.com

He supports the decision, and says also that current tastings at Maker's itself for visitors are using the new 42% version. Any Bardstown-area SBers interested in this issue might drop by for a tour - the tour is always great - (Doug Philips if you are reading?) to check it out.

As I read him, Bill says the change in no way affects the taste profile, and that proof in and of itself does not define the whiskey meaning its essential attributes (which is fair enough).

Gary

P.S. This is a long thread and if his message was noted earlier here I'd ask the mods to delete this posting, I wish only to draw attention to the fact that he has said something about this.

Smokewagon
02-11-2013, 12:19
Prices just went up a few bucks after the new year around here. So now folks will be paying more for less? Also, I don't buy the "scarcity" reason for dilution. I travel and visit about 9-10 of the same states, every year a few times a year. One thing I have never noticed being scarce in any liquor store I visit in any of these states is Maker's, of any size. (The states I visit are in the New England area and the Midwestern part of the US).


~SW

Kalessin
02-11-2013, 12:28
I read Bill Samuels Jr.'s post in the Maker's Mark website news section.

While the post "feels" genuine, it also sounds like damage control and repeats a lot of what was said in the letter to the brand club. The fact that a post like this is there at all is telling. Just a few minutes of reading out around the internet shows that customers and media are reacting badly.

Maker's Mark has had a very long-running marketing message of not compromising or changing their core product, the one on which their brand is built (and it's not like they've been producing many other products).

Sometimes betraying a years-long marketing message doesn't affect a company negatively at all: I remember years of Jim Koch on Boston-area radio stations, starting right around the initial release of Samuel Adams Lager in 1984, insulting light beer and promising that Boston Beer Co. would never, ever produce a Samuel Adams Light. Yep, never, ever until they released Samuel Adams Light in 2001. It helps that they produce a lot of different and excellent beers, but I remember the brand turn-off I had when the light beer came out. I still avoid Sam Adams unless there's no other decent beer at a bar, and I don't buy it for home. But Boston Brewing Co. remains huge in the market, and their sales haven't suffered from the change.

On the other hand, sometimes companies end up in a "New Coke" situation.

On a personal level, I think Maker's Mark is doing the wrong thing, and I think they're betraying their original product, passion and message. I guess that their corporate ownership hasn't given them a choice about it. I'll probably buy a few bottles at 90 proof to stash in the basement, and then I'll move on to other brands because there are other fine wheaters out there at 90 proof and higher.

squire
02-11-2013, 12:32
Older as well . . .

Kalessin
02-11-2013, 12:46
Older as well . . .

Increased age doesn't always mean increased beauty... :D

Smokewagon
02-11-2013, 13:03
Older as well . . .

Ain't that the truth. Weller 12 is about the same price or cheaper, depending on where you are.

~SW

squire
02-11-2013, 13:12
Weller 12 is what came to mind but the 107's no slouch either.

JPBoston
02-11-2013, 13:30
Weller 12 is what came to mind but the 107's no slouch either.

Amen to that. Give me the 107 every time.

SFS
02-11-2013, 13:31
I'm becoming extremely partial to both, mixed at 1:1.

Gillman
02-11-2013, 13:52
Weller 107 seasoned with some 12, enough to bring it down to 100 proof, sounds very good too.

Gary

p_elliott
02-11-2013, 14:05
I had wondered whether BT and Heaven Hill might capitalize on this MM proof change, and BT answered my question this morning with a Facebook post stating that they do not water down their bourbon, linking to an article about the MM change. Then, curiously, they just pulled the post.

Having no links to the industry or the region, I am curious if the big distilleries view each other as brethren or rivals, but I wonder if BT got squeamish about calling out MM.

In any event, this would seem like a reasonable opportunity for HH to call out their 92-proof Larceny, and BT to call out the obvious age and proof benefits of the Weller line. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

I would venture to guess the person in charge of the FB page took it upon themselves to call out MM. Then the higher ups at BT said we don't do that in this industry and take it down. The bourbon industry is a brotherhood they help each other out.

jeffrey r
02-11-2013, 14:26
I would venture to guess the person in charge of the FB page took it upon themselves to call out MM. Then the higher ups at BT said we don't do that in this industry and take it down. The bourbon industry is a brotherhood they help each other out.

That's what I would have thought, though BT did follow up their "super"-snarky original post on FB, with the following "just"-snarky post on FB that has not been pulled:

"90 PROOF" with a picture of BT.

Perhaps b/c it is the BT page, they don't and won't refer to the Weller wheated bourbons, but that is the logical distinction for the distillery to point out--wheated bourbons of greater age and proof than MM, at a better price (that most of us here would also say taste better than MM).

Anyway, the whole thing is pretty interesting, and will be more interesting to see how it plays out in the short and long term.

Josh
02-11-2013, 14:29
Larceny posted a similar one, with a picture of the bottle with "92 Proof".

squire
02-11-2013, 14:35
Trying to steal the attention?

qman22
02-11-2013, 14:56
I saw this linked on the MM facebook page. I wonder if this guy still works at Beam...

http://blogs.courier-journal.com/derbycitycents/2013/02/11/irony-makers-mark-owner-beam-criticized-jack-daniels-for-watering-down-whiskey-in-2004/

ThirstyinOhio
02-11-2013, 15:18
This is a response that I just received back from an email I had sent. It is obviously a canned response, but it does show that they are getting a bit of a beating from their fans:

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding our recent announcement. We always appreciate open and honest conversation about Maker’s Mark, and we’ve gotten plenty of feedback, both supportive and otherwise. In order to respond to everybody quickly, please allow me to offer several thoughts that might answer most of the questions we’re hearing.



And by the way, I asked Rob if I could write this response since many people have wondered if I’m on board with the decision to lower the alcohol-by-volume (ABV) level. I am, and here’s why.


First, it’s important to understand that our primary focus now and for the past 50 years hasn’t changed. It’s product quality and consistency, batch-to-batch, year-to-year, with the primary measure of that consistency being the unique Maker’s Mark taste profile. That’s all that truly matters in the end.


Since we’re a one-brand company that’s never purchased bourbon from other distillers when supplies are short, forecasting is very difficult. Over the years, our one variable that helps us avoid market shortages has been the age of the whisky in the Maker’s bottle. That range is between five years nine months and seven years. Because Maker’s Mark is aged to taste, Dad never put a specific age statement on the bottle. It wasn’t the age that mattered; it was the taste, the quality and the consistency.


Some people are asking why we didn’t just raise the price if demand is an issue. We don’t want to price Maker’s Mark out of reach. Dad’s intention when he created this brand was to make good-tasting bourbon accessible and to bring more fans into the fold, not to make it exclusive. And, with regard to the price, the value of Maker’s Mark isn’t set by alcohol volume. It’s about the quality of the recipe and ingredients that go into it, all the handcrafting that goes into the production and how it tastes.


Some of you have questioned how we reduce the alcohol content. The fact is, other than barrel-strength bourbons, all bourbons are cut with water to achieve the desired proof for bottling. This is a natural step in the bourbon-making process. Maker’s Mark has always been made this way and will continue to be made this way.


As we looked at potential solutions to address the shortage, we agreed again that the most important thing was whether it tastes the same. The distillery made up different batches that Rob and I tested every evening over the course of a month. Every batch at 42% ABV had the same taste profile that we’ve always had. Then, we validated our own tastings with structured consumer research and the Tasting Panel at the distillery, who all agreed: there’s no difference in the taste.


For those of you who have questioned if the supply problem is real, I can assure you that it is. While not every part of the country has seen shortages yet, many have, and the demand is continuing to grow at a pace we’ve never before experienced. While we are investing today to expand capacity for the future, by producing 42% ABV Maker’s Mark we’ll be able to better meet our ongoing supply issues without compromising the taste.


Ultimately, all I can ask is that you reserve judgment until you actually taste the whisky, like I did. If you can make it down to the distillery, we’re doing tastings every day with the 42% ABV whisky to give you a first-hand opportunity to try it for yourself. If you can’t make it to the distillery, please give it a try when it gets to your city. And please write me back at that point. I want to hear what you think.


In the meantime, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to write. It shows that you care about Maker’s Mark, and that’s what we’ve been striving for over the past 50 years. I hope you’ll give us the chance to continue earning that devotion and allow us to prove that we didn’t screw up your whisky. All the best.


Bill Samuels, Jr.


Chairman Emeritus
Ambassador-at-Large


Maker’s Mark Distillery
3350 Burks Spring Road
Loretto, KY, 40037

WE MAKE OUR BOURBON CAREFULLY. PLEASE ENJOY IT THAT WAY.
Maker's Mark® Bourbon Whisky and Maker's 46® Bourbon Whisky. 42% and 47% ABV.
© 2013 Maker's Mark Distillery, Inc. Loretto, KY.

squire
02-11-2013, 15:35
In other words, we're just following orders.

ebo
02-11-2013, 15:53
If MM would come out with a once a year 100+/barrel proof product, I don't think there would be this much bitching over a 3% drop in ABV in the standard product.

barturtle
02-11-2013, 16:01
If MM would come out with a once a year 100+/barrel proof product, I don't think there would be this much bitching over a 3% drop in ABV in the standard product.

They would probably just all end up collecting dust on some shelf next to whatever year's superbowlelectionformercollegeplayer bottle of the month in some collection. Nobody would ever get to drink one.

Clavius
02-11-2013, 16:05
WE MAKE OUR BOURBON CAREFULLY. PLEASE ENJOY IT THAT WAY.
Maker's Mark® Bourbon Whisky and Maker's 46® Bourbon Whisky. 42% and 47% ABV.
© 2013 Maker's Mark Distillery, Inc. Loretto, KY.

Switch appears to have already been made.

White Dog
02-11-2013, 16:31
It's cute that the Samuels make these statements as if they have anything to do with the decision making. Hey Billy Jr., who had a great job based on who his daddy was, we know you no longer own anything, and are only a figure head, so stop saying "we" made this decision.

jeffrey r
02-11-2013, 16:40
WT is in on the piling on now.

"Less Water. More Flavor."

With a picture of 101 Bourbon. Guess they won't mention what happened to the 101 Rye...

MyOldKyDram
02-11-2013, 16:42
Ha, goodness if there's anyone that has no room to say anything...

ebo
02-11-2013, 16:47
They would probably just all end up collecting dust on some shelf next to whatever year's superbowlelectionformercollegeplayer bottle of the month in some collection. Nobody would ever get to drink one.
Yea........... there's that.

AaronWF
02-11-2013, 17:06
With the all but non-existent eye of the TTB on all things bourbon these days, who's to say that they didn't start filling bottles at the lower proof months ago without changing the label? There's their 'taste test' proving that nobody can tell a difference in taste, and this announcement is really just a coming out party for the new label.

matthewdc
02-11-2013, 17:15
I guess we'll have to start a "in memoriam" thread for the 90 proof Maker's...

14745

BourbonBalls
02-11-2013, 17:38
I think this is an opportunity for Heaven Hill to promote their new wheated bourbon, LARCENY. It's at 92 proof, about 6 years old and a wheater. And a BEATER of Makers since they are diddling with the proof. The HH guys have to get their marketing going on this!

squire
02-11-2013, 17:43
If ever there was a time to steal market share.

smknjoe
02-11-2013, 17:44
I drink MM on occasion and preferred Larceny the last time I had it. So, I'm not too worried about the change. MM is usually around for mixing anyway.


Spelling edit.

ThomasH
02-11-2013, 17:48
MM 90 is selling fast here. One stoe was already out of 750's and 1L's!

Thomas

squire
02-11-2013, 18:11
It's the new coke marketing philosophy, we announce we changed it, people rush out and buy the old stuff out, then we change it back.

MyOldKyDram
02-11-2013, 18:14
So would that make the new Jack Daniels unaged rye Crystal Pepsi?

squire
02-11-2013, 18:16
Only in selected markets.

wmpevans
02-11-2013, 19:09
MM is on the defensive now. But, in the long run, who but us whiskey geeks will really notice. Probably noone 6 months after the rollout.

This is really a big gamble for them. Especially, as noted above, with the HH Larceny product out.

I'm thinking marketing blunders 101:skep:: New Coke, Netflix streaming move. Others??

jcg9779
02-11-2013, 19:32
I hadn't bought Maker's in a while and I probably won't buy it again for a long time. Too much good OWA out there!

Pieface
02-11-2013, 20:01
That's what I would have thought, though BT did follow up their "super"-snarky original post on FB, with the following "just"-snarky post on FB that has not been pulled:

"90 PROOF" with a picture of BT.

Perhaps b/c it is the BT page, they don't and won't refer to the Weller wheated bourbons, but that is the logical distinction for the distillery to point out--wheated bourbons of greater age and proof than MM, at a better price (that most of us here would also say taste better than MM).

Anyway, the whole thing is pretty interesting, and will be more interesting to see how it plays out in the short and long term.

Maybe one of the Aussies should post a picture of the 80 proof BT we get here :rolleyes:

G-Rat
02-11-2013, 20:19
NPR ran a 5 minute spot on this today. Interviewed two or three people who were not happy about the change. Also made a passing remark about the proof going down and the price staying the same. Was on the whole negative. I thought that this was some pretty significant national press in a bad way.

ErichPryde
02-11-2013, 20:36
Agreed on the wording of BT's post. It came off a bit disingenuous when I read it to be honest. They should be touting their products, rather than calling out the practice of watering down bourbon, which all of these guys do to some extent.

Buffalo Trace
Elmer T. Lee 107 BUB -- 90 proof
Eagle Rare 10, 101 proof, 90 proof
Buffalo Trace, export only -- 80 proof
no more age statement on OWA (but it's STILL 7 years old- we swear!)


Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve 101 --90 proof
Wild Turkey Rye 101 -- 81 proof

Jack Daniel's 90, 86, then 80 proof

Evan Williams- suffered proof cuts (the older 7 year higher proof black wasn't too bad!)


EVERY single distiller has done this on some level or other. Every single one. Overhead goes up, popularity goes up, and quality goes down. Eventually only a few brands will be viewed as quality, and then the whole bottom will drop out so we can start over again (maybe that won't happen, but American Business is Business)

Brisko
02-12-2013, 07:18
Buffalo Trace
Elmer T. Lee 107 BUB -- 90 proof
Eagle Rare 10, 101 proof, 90 proof
Buffalo Trace, export only -- 80 proof
no more age statement on OWA (but it's STILL 7 years old- we swear!)


Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve 101 --90 proof
Wild Turkey Rye 101 -- 81 proof

Jack Daniel's 90, 86, then 80 proof

Evan Williams- suffered proof cuts (the older 7 year higher proof black wasn't too bad!)


EVERY single distiller has done this on some level or other. Every single one. Overhead goes up, popularity goes up, and quality goes down. Eventually only a few brands will be viewed as quality, and then the whole bottom will drop out so we can start over again (maybe that won't happen, but American Business is Business)

Beam has fooled around with their Black label, too. When it was 7 years old it was 90 proof and now at 8 years old it's 86. I guess maybe it's a quid pro quo--another year in the wood for 4 degrees of proof.

I'll bet Heaven Hill is wishing they had Larceny in national distribution right about now.

Jono
02-12-2013, 09:26
http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/02/12/maker-mark-reducing-alcohol-volume-to-stretch-supplies-its-bourbon-amid-strong/?intcmp=features

The current story:

Maker's Mark reducing alcohol volume to stretch supplies of its bourbon amid strong demand

Published February 12, 2013

Associated Press


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/02/12/maker-mark-reducing-alcohol-volume-to-stretch-supplies-its-bourbon-amid-strong/?intcmp=features#ixzz2KhdgGXNe

TheOakMonster
02-12-2013, 09:34
I'll bet Heaven Hill is wishing they had Larceny in national distribution right about now.

Maybe they'll rush more to market in an effort to capitalize, be successful, run short on product and then be forced to reduce proof or abandon markets.

Brisko
02-12-2013, 09:42
Maybe they'll rush more to market in an effort to capitalize, be successful, run short on product and then be forced to reduce proof or abandon markets.

Thanks, that made me chuckle and I could use one today.

It's worth noting that while the outcry is loud, Maker's at least approached this the right way. Think back to the WT rye debacle and how we found out about it (Josh saw the new product on the MI price list) and how many conflicting official and semi-official statements were made before we got the whole story.

Quantum
02-12-2013, 10:10
My understanding was that they are trying to meet rising global demand. While there might not be a significant shortage in the US now, there would be if they started shipping more overseas.

While I have never seen a store without MM on the shelf, I have noticed that I rarely see the 1.75L bottles anymore. I just though the MM46 had cannibalized the shelf space.

Cigar Dan
02-12-2013, 10:28
The 1.75L bottles are still plentiful around here.

squire
02-12-2013, 10:49
In short we are being asked to subsidize their further World wide expansion. Anyone who wants my place in line is welcome to it.

Kalessin
02-12-2013, 11:07
http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/02/12/maker-mark-reducing-alcohol-volume-to-stretch-supplies-its-bourbon-amid-strong/?intcmp=features

The current story:
Maker's Mark reducing alcohol volume to stretch supplies of its bourbon amid strong demand
Published February 12, 2013
Associated Press

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/02/12/maker-mark-reducing-alcohol-volume-to-stretch-supplies-its-bourbon-amid-strong/?intcmp=features#ixzz2KhdgGXNe


And with a quote from the esteemed Mr. Cowdery, too!

OscarV
02-12-2013, 12:22
barturtle had his Tweet exposed on this broadcast

http://money.msn.com/now/post.aspx?post=789e55fa-5a4e-4824-acbe-0f72aa800d2e#scptid

MauiSon
02-12-2013, 14:16
In short we are being asked to subsidize their further World wide expansion. Anyone who wants my place in line is welcome to it.

Or, the standard expression is 'subsidizing' the 'high-end' expression. Maybe the dilution is just the 'price to be paid' for maintaining 46 production. It's a give-and-take, but I must admit, I am disappointed with their decision.

JPBoston
02-12-2013, 14:32
In short we are being asked to subsidize their further World wide expansion. Anyone who wants my place in line is welcome to it.

I've got your spot saved in the OWA line, my friend.

squire
02-12-2013, 15:25
Always nice to feel welcome.

Hondo
02-12-2013, 15:43
Well... It's all about profits and I would have expected nothing less from Beam Inc. It's a shame though that they are damaging the brand at least for some. In the long run MM will keep selling like hot cakes and most buyers won't care.

I personally have always opted for Weller Special Reserve over MM. I really enjoy the WSR and it's a third less dollars...

JPBoston
02-12-2013, 15:56
Well... It's all about profits and I would have expected nothing less from Beam Inc. It's a shame though that they are damaging the brand at least for some. In the long run MM will keep selling like hot cakes and most buyers won't care.

I personally have always opted for Weller Special Reserve over MM. I really enjoy the WSR and it's a third less dollars...

Since you're a big fan of WSR, do you mind describing it? I've always skipped it because OWA is so cheap here, they're only $3-4 apart.

Is it really just OWA with a bit more water? (I mean, does it taste pretty much exactly as if you added a bit of water to a pour of OWA?)

squire
02-12-2013, 16:22
Yes, it's just a lower proof version, or so it tastes to me, but at 90 proof I wouldn't call it in any way weak.

Restaurant man
02-12-2013, 16:30
I'm really amused by the "you can't even tell" chants from Makers and their supporters. It's really digging deep for a positive spin. You know how to cook a frog right? Put him in a pot with room temp water and let it heat up slow enough for him to get used to it, until...
then you smother the little bastard in barbeque sauce and WAIT! What was I talking about? Nevermind I'm starving. Gotta go

squire
02-12-2013, 16:37
Reminds me of the fella's uncle who drowned in a vat of whisky. Took quite a while they say, he climbed out three times for a bathroom break.

fishnbowljoe
02-12-2013, 16:50
Heck, I think MM 46 is okay, but maybe Makers should just call it a day with MM 46. My solution would be to get rid of MM 46, and bring back a 101 proof MM. (Regards to Gary Gillman' post.) Win-win! :grin: Yes, I realize that upping the proof on a bourbon would seemingly be counterproductive when there's a shortage of said bourbon. Still, if more of us astute and self proclaimed bourbon lovers bought and preferred a 101 proof MM, that could possibly lessen the demand somewhat for regular MM. Maybe????? C'mon folks. Go with me here. :smiley_acbt: Anyway, I know at best it's all probably just a wash regardless. I also know it'a a lot of wistful, wishful thinking. I just can't help it. MM was pretty much my gateway bourbon, and although I don't drink it regularly any more, I will always have a bottle or two around just because. Sad to see it change. Oh well................(sigh)

FWIW, this pour of Larceny I'm having tonight is pretty damn tasty.:shocked: :slappin::slappin::slappin::slappin::slappin:

Cheers! :grin:

ThomasH
02-12-2013, 16:56
Chalk up another credit for chuck cowdery. He was quoted in an article on Fox News.com about MM lowering there proof. Good Job Chuck!

Thomas

Enoch
02-12-2013, 17:14
This may really pay off. I have never seen so much reporting on Bourbon in my life....NBC News, etc.... My local store says they are selling at quite a pace over the last few days. I even thought about buying a case even though I don't really drink it much. They may be creating the shortage. I have wondered how well the 46 has been selling. Not so good around here.

PaulO
02-12-2013, 18:20
Is there really such a thing as a premium bourbon in the 80 proof range? I can't think of one. Chuck mentioned Jacob's Well, also 84 proof. What happened to that? Mostly, I think of the bottom shelf stuff being 80 proof. Some of it can be ok, but not premium.

shoshani
02-12-2013, 18:20
Wild Turkey now has a large picture on their Facebook page, with a bottle of Rare Breed and an empty glass. It says "Adding water? We'll leave that up to you."

msk2718
02-12-2013, 18:31
Is there really such a thing as a premium bourbon in the 80 proof range? I can't think of one. Chuck mentioned Jacob's Well, also 84 proof. What happened to that? Mostly, I think of the bottom shelf stuff being 80 proof. Some of it can be ok, but not premium.

Basil Hayden's is 80 proof, not that I'm endorsing it.

kaiserhog
02-12-2013, 18:34
I think this is a horrible move by Makers Mark.

squire
02-12-2013, 19:22
Fortunately Bourbon hasn't followed the World wide standard of 80 proof, yet.

portwood
02-12-2013, 20:08
Fortunately Bourbon hasn't followed the World wide standard of 80 proof, yet.
Really?
Two of the top 15 best selling whiskeys in the world are bourbons* - both 80 proof

*I know JD isn't "bourbon", right? :lol:

JPBoston
02-12-2013, 23:08
Even Jay Leno had a joke about MM tonight (funny timing, since I haven't watched late night talk shows in years... it was just on in the background before I popped in a movie).

The punchline went something like this:

You used to have to go out to a bar to get a watered down drink... now you can apparently do that in the comfort of your own home.

I wouldn't have guessed the MM news would hit such a topical show... pretty interesting.

scubadoo97
02-13-2013, 00:02
I haven't watched Leno in years but that was spot on

ILLfarmboy
02-13-2013, 00:09
Anytime anyone tells me they like Captain Morgan, I tell them about Sailor Jerry and anytime anyone tells me they like Makers I tell them about OWA.

I'll be honest, I don't understand buying brands instead of types, and this latest move by Beam Just makes me want to tell everybody I know about this shit move.

ChainWhip
02-13-2013, 00:47
Laphroaig is the only thing I drink from Beam - if they leave this Islay product line well enough alone, what they do with MM doesn't really bug me.

That said, I'd be interested in a MM premium product (BiB/101/extra-aged).

PaulO
02-13-2013, 04:35
No, they're changing out the hand-dipped wax for a plastic shrink-wrap capsule with red wax printed on it, that can be applied by a machine. But that's the last change, honest. ... I had to re-read this to make sure it said what I thought it said. :bigeyes: I'm still not sure if this is serious, or just Chuck's sense of humor. If MM looses the trademark red wax too, it will be obvious to most people that Beam is downgrading the brand. If it really happens, will MM threaten to sue the other companies that use plastic shrink-wrap capsules? :lol:

Gillman
02-13-2013, 05:40
I would call Four Roses Yellow Label a premium 80 proof and Jack Daniels too, also Basil Hayden albeit it is far from my favorite. Maker's can still claim this territory and of course it will still be above 80 proof, but it is a much milder tasting drink due to its formulation (the wheat content in part but just its overall profile). So some distinctiveness has been lost IMO by the drop to 42% ABV, it is less premium than it was.

Gary

squire
02-13-2013, 07:20
Four Roses Yellow label is a good example of what a Maker can do with a 80 proof expression, of course Bourbons sold overseas have been 80 proof for years and Canadian spirits at 80 proof sell right smartly here.

Fortunately, in our domestic market, we have access to a good many Bourbons in the 86-90-100 proof categories.

silverfish
02-13-2013, 09:31
I'm on MM overload and too lazy to read through the entire thread so can
someone help out with a couple questions:

Has MM said that this proof drop is a temporary thing and it will return to 90
sometime in the future (like WT did with the Rye reduction)?

Can anyone think of an example of a brand that reduced proof which was later
returned to the higher proof?

jeffrey r
02-13-2013, 09:35
Has MM said that this proof drop is a temporary thing and it will return to 90
sometime in the future (like WT did with the Rye reduction)?


They are saying this is a permanent move. Quite surprising imho to say that so definitively, but that is what they are saying.

I might add, though I have not purchased MM in quite some time, that particularly due to the "permanent" qualifier they are using, I did put some MM on hold at a local store to pick up. May as well have a bit of the 90-proof stuff around the house.

squire
02-13-2013, 09:37
Can't think of one offhand, at least not one that came back under the same brand.

higgins
02-13-2013, 09:53
I haven't seen anyone mention this quote from the Fox News article, directly preceding Chuck Cowdery's appearance:

" never really was wed to 90 proof anyway," [Bill Samuels Jr.] said. "It's just that he had to pick something, and he knew that [B]anything over 90, the alcohol smothered the taste of whiskey and he was a little nervous about going too much lower."

http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/02/12/maker-mark-reducing-alcohol-volume-to-stretch-supplies-its-bourbon-amid-strong/?intcmp=features#ixzz2KhdgGXNe

Strange thing to say, since they had a 101 proof expression in the past, and currently one at 94. The fact that this is their current talking point seems to offer even less of a hope that we'll ever see anything approaching 100 proof from this distillery.

MyOldKyDram
02-13-2013, 10:17
Almost gave in and bought a 45er today. Almost.

smokinjoe
02-13-2013, 11:33
I'm surprised that things are happening this quickly, but my local whiskey monger tells me that the shipment of MM 750's that he is getting in this week will be the lower proof stuff.

Gillman
02-13-2013, 11:57
Smothered the taste of the whiskey? Even if it was drunk in a cocktail, with soda pop or in a highball or even with ice alone, which I would think is the way 100 proof or any bourbon is usually drunk? Sounds odd to me.

To me proof has simply been a value proposition, i.e., I've always assumed that the more alcohol in the bottle, the better the value on a unit of alcohol basis. There is nothing magic in how the distiller puts water in (IMO), I can put in my own to get it (should I choose) where I want it to be.

I wonder if the numbers bear this out though. E.g. an interesting spreadsheet would be one which indicated the cost of different proof bourbons on a unit of alcohol basis. It would have to be done within a given age range though, say all bourbons from 4-5 years old, 6-8, 8-10, etc., something like that. An arbitrary factor would be involved but that's okay within reason. I would think the higher alcohol bourbons are better values, but am not 100% sure. At any rate, Makers, for those who view it as I do, at 90 proof is surely a better proposition than at 84 proof because the price hasn't come down.

Gary

Smokewagon
02-13-2013, 12:36
I wonder if the numbers bear this out though. E.g. an interesting spreadsheet would be one which indicated the cost of different proof bourbons on a unit of alcohol basis. It would have to be done within a given age range though, say all bourbons from 4-5 years old, 6-8, 8-10, etc., something like that. An arbitrary factor would be involved but that's okay within reason. I would think the higher alcohol bourbons are better values, but am not 100% sure.

Gary

This would be kind of neat to see. Of course the time involved puting something like that together might be limiting. Anyone know someone who has a fondness for spreadsheets and is a wee bit on the obsessive/compulsive side?

~S

smokinjoe
02-13-2013, 12:42
This would be kind of neat to see. Of course the time involved puting something like that together might be limiting. Anyone know someone who has a fondness for spreadsheets and is a wee bit on the obsessive/compulsive side?

~S

I nominate Squire. :D

savagehenry
02-13-2013, 12:48
Well I've never purchased a bottle of MM, so after reading this news I'm sure that trend will continue.

Josh
02-13-2013, 12:49
I nominate Squire. :D

Second.

I also hope he'll be able to make it to the Sampler. The man has been on a roll for quite some time.

msk2718
02-13-2013, 13:19
It's begun. I saw Maker's Lite 750s at a store in Chicago today. The 1.75s were still the 90 proof.

kickert
02-13-2013, 13:28
damn... that was fast!

squire
02-13-2013, 14:00
Fast as a Bedford Forest calvary attack, this was a done deal long before we heard about it.

squire
02-13-2013, 14:02
Spreadsheet? Me? I still write with a fountain pen.

SFS
02-13-2013, 16:39
Everything on the shelf today in the local Total Wine was still 90 proof, in all three sizes.

Yeti
02-13-2013, 17:13
Against all of my better nature I swung by to pick up 2 bottles, but at $29 I passed. I seem to remember this at <$25 very recently around here. Not a huge difference, but since I was talking myself into it to begin with, no go.

HighInTheMtns
02-13-2013, 17:18
Against all of my better nature I swung by to pick up 2 bottles, but at $29 I passed. I seem to remember this at <$25 very recently around here. Not a huge difference, but since I was talking myself into it to begin with, no go.
I laughed at this. I've gone to the store to bunker a bottle or two of Maker's twice so far, and both times when it came down to taking one off the shelf, I ended up passing. It already costs too much, adding water just makes it worse.

White Dog
02-13-2013, 18:24
Picked up a damn handle for $40. While paying I muttered, "can't believe this is a friggin' dusty." The clerk said, "huh." "Nevermind," I replied.

shoshani
02-13-2013, 22:25
It's begun. I saw Maker's Lite 750s at a store in Chicago today. The 1.75s were still the 90 proof.

"Maker's Lite". That's beautiful. *swipes* :lol:

Yeti
02-13-2013, 23:05
Astorwines.com has a 15% off American whiskey deal today which makes a 1.75 MM $42.50. It also results in lots of other good deals ($25 ER, $30 willet rye/HW DR), but it's a good price point for MM specifically.

MM is the "top shelf" bourbon we had at my wedding (and the bourbon in my flask in my jacket pocket, and what i drank at the after party following the reception) and the idea of not having some in the closet to pull out at some random point in the future is starting to register with me. On one hand I haven't bought a bottle in years. On the other hand there's a damn good chance that I've had more fluid ounces of 90 proof Mark than any other bourbon in my lifetime. A pair of the big guys at a god price should put my mind at ease.

msk2718
02-14-2013, 09:54
Here's a short, but good, piece on what MM has done to its brand.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerdooley/2013/02/14/makers-mark/

clindt
02-14-2013, 10:17
Well, last night they sold one more bottle than they would have, had the proof not changed. I paid $26 for a 750. I'm not a huge wheater fan, but thought I would kick myself down the road if I didn't pick up at least one bottle. In fact, I think it is the only bottle of Maker's I have ever purchased.