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Monday, February 18, 2013

Maker's Listens to Prevailing Winds, Reverses Course

We posted last week on Maker's Mark decision to meet increased demand by changing their recipe by diluting their whiskey. Apparently feedback was not very positive and the distillery has changed course. Good for them. I personally think there were better solutions - perhaps raising the price while simultaneously introducing a smaller bottle?  In any case, as one LinkedIn commenter noted, "but I greatly appreciate the company's openness and honesty with their customers. How many beverage makers do you know have changed the formula of their product and didn't bother telling the public?" I agree with that sentiment. Here's a letter from Chief Operating Officer, Rob Samuels:
Dear Ambassador,

Since we announced our decision last week to reduce the alcohol content (ABV) of Maker’s Mark in response to supply constraints, we have heard many concerns and questions from our ambassadors and brand fans. We’re humbled by your overwhelming response and passion for Maker’s Mark. While we thought we were doing what’s right, this is your brand – and you told us in large numbers to change our decision.

You spoke. We listened. And we’re sincerely sorry we let you down.

So effective immediately, we are reversing our decision to lower the ABV of Maker’s Mark, and resuming production at 45% alcohol by volume (90 proof). Just like we’ve made it since the very beginning.

The unanticipated dramatic growth rate of Maker’s Mark is a good problem to have, and we appreciate some of you telling us you’d even put up with occasional shortages. We promise we'll deal with them as best we can, as we work to expand capacity at the distillery.

Your trust, loyalty and passion are what’s most important. We realize we can’t lose sight of that. Thanks for your honesty and for reminding us what makes Maker’s Mark, and its fans, so special.

We’ll set about getting back to bottling the handcrafted bourbon that our father/grandfather, Bill Samuels, Sr. created. Same recipe. Same production process. Same product.

As always, we will continue to let you know first about developments at the distillery. In the meantime please keep telling us what’s on your mind and come down and visit us at the distillery. It means a lot to us.

Sincerely,

Rob Samuels
Chief Operating Officer
Ambassador-in-Chief
What do you think? Will diluting the whiskey change your preference? Would it make more sense to use market forces and raise the price slightly in order to decrease demand. And not diluting.

1 comment:

Peter Morrell said...

As a 50 year wine & spirit merchant who is also a consumer, I started my barfly period - back when the drinking age was 18 in New York - with Jack Daniels, but stopped cold when they switched from "7 Years Old" to "Old # 7" because they lost my trust...since then (a very long time) I've been a constant devotee of Maker's Mark. The Samuels family remain fine guardians of a terrific tasting, satiny smooth whiskey with no bite. The reversal is smart!

Peter Morrell
Senior Wine & Spirit Advisor & Consultant
Morrell & Company
One Rockefeller Plaza
New York
Morrell & Company