Your next glass of Maker’s Mark will be a little less potent, and the son of the man who founded the famous Kentucky bourbon says it’s all his fault.
In an interview Monday, Bill Samuels Jr. said he failed to foresee a worldwide surge in demand for premium bourbon when he was still in charge of the brand about six years ago. As a result, Maker’s Mark is being diluted to 42 percent alcohol by volume, from 45 percent, so more of the whiskey can be bottled to meet demand. That’s a cut from 90 proof to 84 proof.
They’ve also decided to market it under the name “New Coke.”
When you have a successful brand in a highly competitive market, especially one that is built more on goodwill than any other feature, you tamper with your product at your own risk.
Really, how many of us can tell Makers Mark from Jack Daniels in a blind taste test? I’m sure many of you can. But I surely can’t.
Maker’s Mark could have easily addressed the shortage by slightly raising prices. Their cash flow would have been the same as increased sales, and they would have maintained the cachet and tradition of the brand. This is a foolish decision, and one no marketer should ever make.