Endgame: Maker’s Mark to meet increasing demand by … reducing its alcohol content

posted at 8:41 pm on February 11, 2013 by Allahpundit

I’m trying to imagine any other company in any other industry handling a global clamor for its product this poorly. It’s like BMW advertising the fact that it can’t keep pace with demand and as a result will shift to slightly lower-quality engine components.

Alternate headline: “Prestige brand turns PR bonanza into PR disaster.”

Maker’s Mark is distilled to 45 percent alcohol by volume — or 90 proof — and, after the change, would go down to about 42 percent ABV or 84 proof.

“Lately we’ve been hearing from many of you that you’ve been having difficulty finding Maker’s Mark in your local stores,” Maker’s Mark executives Rob Samuels and Bill Samuels Jr. wrote in a joint email to clients.

“Fact is, demand for our bourbon is exceeding our ability to make it, which means we’re running very low on supply.”

A local bartender insists that consumers will notice the difference, the same way they’d notice if he started diluting beer by pouring a half shot of water into everyone’s pint. I’m … pretty sure most people wouldn’t notice that, but that’s not the point. The point is that MM is actually broadcasting the fact that fans will get less bang for their buck henceforth. If only there was an alternate solution suggested by, say, third-grade economics:

As I joked on Twitter, the geniuses at Maker’s Mark are diluting their product in order to ensure that more people have access to a crappier product. This is so remarkably stupid I don’t even know where to begin. All I’ll say is that we have a tried and true solution to this problem: raise the price! When demand for your product increases and you have no ability to make the same product at the same price point, you raise the price of the product. Then, once your production capabilities have caught up or demand slackens, you lower the price again. You don’t damage the brand by making an inferior product.

Indeed. Wouldn’t surprise me if they see fewer profits doing it this way than if they declared a worldwide shortage, jacked up the price by 20 percent, and forced Maker’s Mark fans to start hoarding bottles in a scarcity panic. If anything, they should have boosted the alcohol content by a point or two. Madness.

Update: Wanted to yank this out of the Greenroom and put it up front now that Maker’s Mark’s COO has responded to the outcry. Quote:

Why not just raise the price? That’s another common solution to problems of supply and demand.

“Rob’s grandfather did not like ostentatiousness,” Bill said, referring to Bill Samuels Sr. ”It deliberately was not marketed as an image-transfer brand.” I pointed that out Maker’s Mark was once marketed under the slogan, “It tastes expensive…and is.”

Rob said that, yes, “for a period, it was a little more expensive than others,” but described Maker’s Mark as more a mid-market brand now. Jim Beam, owned by the same company, is a cheaper bourbon; Maker’s 46 is higher-end and higher proof. In that sense, lowering the proof of Maker’s Mark is diversifying the company’s selection of bourbon.

So the idea is, since higher global demand means consumers will have to pay a tiny bit more per unit of alcohol no matter what, rather than keep the same proof and jack up the price such that MM begins to compete with the company’s premium brands, they’ll keep the price more affordable for middle-class drinkers and simply give them less booze. Hard for me to believe that that’s more profitable for them than simply raising the price and losing some sales to intracompany competition given the brutal publicity they’re getting from this for “cheating” their regular customers, but okay.

Exit question via Megan McArdle: Does this de facto price hike actually have to do with the rising price of corn? If it does, why haven’t other bourbon makers followed suit? (Or will they?)


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

A local bartender insists that consumers will notice the difference, the same way they’d notice if he started diluting beer by pouring a half shot of water into everyone’s pint.

Anyone that tells you they’re going to notice a drop from 45 ABV to 42 is full of Holy Shi’ite. Completely full of it.

I work in the wine industry, and most people can’t tell the difference between a 12.5 and 14.5 percent wine.

blatantblue on February 11, 2013 at 8:44 PM

count this as your friendly neighborhood alcohol tip ahead of the SOTU drinking games????

ted c on February 11, 2013 at 8:44 PM

Woodford Reserve.

KCB on February 11, 2013 at 8:45 PM

While I am an Irish whiskey drinker I liked Maker’s Mark. No longer, I will not be a purchaser of ANY producer of ANYTHING that kowtows to the Maggot in Chief and his minions.

MNDavenotPC on February 11, 2013 at 8:46 PM

heh….from 90 to 84 proof…. from an A- to a Good Solid B+

(couldn’t resist)

ted c on February 11, 2013 at 8:47 PM

er….B- maybe.

/grades

ted c on February 11, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Like I said in the other thread, I guess we need to hoard the original recipe while it last, along with 9mm ammo.

Mardi Gras is in full swing down here, so I doubt there is any to be had at the package stores in lower LA, MS, AL…

Guess I will be drinking Blanton’s exclusively from here on out…

Tilly on February 11, 2013 at 8:47 PM

blatantblue on February 11, 2013 at 8:44 PM

Let me add some clarity:

SOME people (a very small number) will be able to tell the difference, as people in my industry can taste blind and tell between 12 and 14/15, percent, etc.

blatantblue on February 11, 2013 at 8:48 PM

What Maker’s Mark is doing is analogous to reducing the size of the packaging, which is what many companies have done. is it right? No. But it is prevalent.

Mr. Curly on February 11, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Phenomenally stupid idea.

Does Krugman sit on their board?

Bishop on February 11, 2013 at 8:50 PM

Sales of Chivas Regal dropped after they reduced their alcohol level. People got very ticked off and switch to other brands. Makers Mark is bound to have a similar problem. If I want a crappy bourbon, I’d just drink Jim Bream.

simkeith on February 11, 2013 at 8:53 PM

I’m not a bourbon devotee, but when I drink it I like “Makers Mark” or at least I did until I found Bulleit which I think is better.

Bulleit Bourbon

Gold medal winner in San Francisco, in 2005(? I think) ..

Not Irish, but good whiskey.

CrazyGene on February 11, 2013 at 8:55 PM

There’s always “Ten High” and “Kentucky Gentleman”.

Bishop on February 11, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Not my cup of ‘tea’ just sayin’ lol…

Don’t like bourbon nor whiskey or scotch…

Scrumpy on February 11, 2013 at 8:56 PM

So does this mean that Keeneland Race Track will change the Maker’s Mark Mile to the Maker’s Mark Seven-Eighths Mile?

predator on February 11, 2013 at 8:56 PM

stunningly stupid

pat on February 11, 2013 at 8:56 PM

In other words, they want mass sales from SE Asia and don’t give a rats fat ass about the US base, because the drinkers on the Islands and Macaw will certainly make up for it.

I’m seeing the US marketplace become a secondary concern, more and more…

budfox on February 11, 2013 at 8:57 PM

I still don’t see the reasoning. If demand goes up, so should price. Or, even better– expand operations!

And if you’re worried about your top shelf bourbons, then raise their price as well.

This move is just flat-out idiocy.

Nethicus on February 11, 2013 at 9:00 PM

There’s still Wild Turkey 101 and Old Grandad 100.

AcidReflux on February 11, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Make more.

Axe on February 11, 2013 at 9:01 PM

’m seeing the US marketplace become a secondary concern, more and more…

budfox on February 11, 2013 at 8:57 PM

I agree. They are after the market of Suntory drinkers.

simkeith on February 11, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Reposted from the green room thread:

When I buy alcohol (which technically I don’t, as I’m 20), I go for flavor, alcohol content is a secondary concern, as I never drink with the intent of getting drunk or tipsy or buzzed or whatever. So long as the flavor of Maker’s Mark isn’t compromised, I don’t care. 3% isn’t enough of a difference for my pie crusts to be any less flaky, so I really don’t mind.

vegconservative on February 11, 2013 at 9:07 PM

+1 Woodsford Reserve

richardb on February 11, 2013 at 9:08 PM

When I buy alcohol (which technically I don’t, as I’m 20), I go for flavor, alcohol content is a secondary concern, as I never drink with the intent of getting drunk or tipsy or buzzed or whatever. So long as the flavor of Maker’s Mark isn’t compromised, I don’t care. 3% isn’t enough of a difference for my pie crusts to be any less flaky, so I really don’t mind.

vegconservative on February 11, 2013 at 9:07 PM

. . . Just can’t get used to 20 year old “children.” Not to you. Past you. Thinking out loud. :)

Axe on February 11, 2013 at 9:10 PM

Maker’s Mark — Doing to their whiskey what Schlitz did to their beer in the 1970s, and likely with the same result (unless this is some sort of pseudo-New Coke ploy, as a way to resurrect the old recipe soon after enough hue and cry, but at a higher price)

jon1979 on February 11, 2013 at 9:11 PM

As bad as New Coke.

I prefer Bulleit, but am drinking Evan Williams

rbj on February 11, 2013 at 9:12 PM

vegconservative on February 11, 2013 at 9:07 PM

It’ll be compromised, but to most folks, that compromise won’t be noticeable.

blatantblue on February 11, 2013 at 9:12 PM

I think it’s kind of funny, the reduction in ABV will affect the amount of time it’s distilled and aged…how is that not going to affect the flavor profile? It’s not like alcohol is added later and they’re adding less; it’s intrinsic to the distillation process.

Why not raise the price of regular Mark, and then create the weaker whiskey as “Maker’s Mark ‘Meh Label’” and see how it goes?

Guess I’ll be sticking with Buffalo Trace for my Bourbon needs and Bulleit for Rye.

Sgt Steve on February 11, 2013 at 9:13 PM

Phenomenally stupid idea.

Does Krugman sit on their board?

Bishop on February 11, 2013 at 8:50 PM

No, but Karl rove does.

bw222 on February 11, 2013 at 9:14 PM

Rob said that, yes, “for a period, it was a little more expensive than others,” but described Maker’s Mark as more a mid-market brand now. Jim Beam, owned by the same company, is a cheaper bourbon; Maker’s 46 is higher-end and higher proof.

That’s the truth right there – It’s not a supply issue or a cost issue… Or even an issue made by a real whiskey craftsman… it’s because some ivory-league, bull headed, never made anything in his life but got a job because had an MBA with a minor in marketing, manager decided they needed to up sales of Maker’s 46 which didn’t have the clout of Maker’s Mark…

Gee… how do you DO that? Cannibalize the “mid tier brand”.

I drink Maker’s Mark, I like Maker’s Mark but after this bottle, I’ll move on… And not to Maker’s 46…

Skywise on February 11, 2013 at 9:15 PM

#PRdisaster #endgame #wateredDown

This off topic – except for the PR DISASTER part … but, I’ve been waiting all day for HA to pick up this transmission from Planet Paul …

‘Ron Paul turns to UN agency for help in fight over namesake website’

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/11/ron-paul-files-suit-for-domain-name-leaving-supporters-bummed-but-fighting/#ixzz2KeBORwGp

Pork-Chop on February 11, 2013 at 9:17 PM

Don’t like bourbon nor whiskey or scotch…
Scrumpy on February 11, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Nor do I. But I got to taste Scotch made in Scotland and ended up sipping it straight.

It’s a move fraught with peril for Maker’s Mark. Changes made to food, as an example, are perilous especially if the public thinks it’s getting ripped-off.

Feedie on February 11, 2013 at 9:19 PM

It’s back to Moonshine for me.

Oil Can on February 11, 2013 at 9:20 PM

vegconservative on February 11, 2013 at 9:07 PM

You use bourbon in your pie crusts?

Rusty Allen on February 11, 2013 at 9:20 PM

Well, back to Everclear grain alcohol for me.

The Rogue Tomato on February 11, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Well, back to Everclear grain alcohol for me.

The Rogue Tomato on February 11, 2013 at 9:21 PM

We have a port at the winery where I work, and one day I tried the grape alcohol that we fortify the port with, and holy crap.

191.8 proof. IDK how people can drink booze at that level!!!

blatantblue on February 11, 2013 at 9:24 PM

I’m thinking that the makers of Maker’s Mark may have been imbibing a bit too much on the job.

TXUS on February 11, 2013 at 9:25 PM

I’m a rum kind of girl, myself. Especially if it’s Pusser’s.

Sekhmet on February 11, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Well, back to Everclear grain alcohol for me.

The Rogue Tomato on February 11, 2013 at 9:21 PM

It hasn’t been 99% for years now.

RickB on February 11, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Mmm, rum.

Rusty Allen on February 11, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Why not lower it to 70?

Bmore on February 11, 2013 at 9:28 PM

the geniuses at Maker’s Mark are diluting their product in order to ensure that more people have access to a crappier product.

Why not move operations, make it a blend, slap a made in Canada label on it, and do this stupid idea to the fullest?

Happy Nomad on February 11, 2013 at 9:30 PM

There’s always “Ten High” and “Kentucky Gentleman”.

Bishop on February 11, 2013 at 8:55 PM

rofl, I love you. Used to work at a liquor store after getting out of the Army. When this post was in the GreenRoom I thought of those two. Now Sunnyside blend was pretty decent for a cheaper whiskey in my limited knowledge. Course I was OK with Ripple at one time.

arnold ziffel on February 11, 2013 at 9:34 PM

If only there was an alternate solution suggested by, say, third-grade economics:

As I joked on Twitter, the geniuses at Maker’s Mark are diluting their product in order to ensure that more people have access to a crappier product. This is so remarkably stupid I don’t even know where to begin. All I’ll say is that we have a tried and true solution to this problem: raise the price! When demand for your product increases and you have no ability to make the same product at the same price point, you raise the price of the product.

So… you’re complaining that the real world isn’t operating according to theory? Economic theory is not a set of normative statements, but an explanation, a set of “positive” statements, regarding human behavior.

Theory is supposed to describe reality, not vice-versa. If reality doesn’t conform with theory, then there’s a problem with the theory.

I’m always amused by folks who think that economics explains both how the world is, and how the world ought to be. With any system of reasoning, you only get to pick one, and economics is not in the “ought” business.

Stoic Patriot on February 11, 2013 at 9:36 PM

JD went to 80%. If Maker’s Mark can’t make it, they should die.

ladyingray on February 11, 2013 at 9:37 PM

You use bourbon in your pie crusts?

Rusty Allen on February 11, 2013 at 9:20 PM

Yes, if you are from Kentucky. It’s hard to find any dessert recipe without bourbon in the state.

HellCat on February 11, 2013 at 9:43 PM

191.8 proof. IDK how people can drink booze at that level!!!

blatantblue on February 11, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Apparently you and I did not go to college together. Grain Alcohol messes up your DNA.

I was a short black woman when I entered my freshman year and by the time I left I was a 6’4″ white guy who voted for Reagan twice.

Take home message: don’t drink anything that can also be used to power your car.

turfmann on February 11, 2013 at 9:44 PM

turfmann on February 11, 2013 at 9:44 PM

I couldn’t handle it. One sip from the wine glass and my mouth felt like it was embalmed in flames.

blatantblue on February 11, 2013 at 9:45 PM

It hasn’t been 99% for years now.

RickB on February 11, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Or ever.

alchemist19 on February 11, 2013 at 9:46 PM

HellCat on February 11, 2013 at 9:43 PM

Wow, learn something new everyday.

Rusty Allen on February 11, 2013 at 9:51 PM

I couldn’t handle it. One sip from the wine glass and my mouth felt like it was embalmed in flames.

blatantblue on February 11, 2013 at 9:45 PM

That’s a feature, not a bug!

We used to make a punch with diced fruit that was left to marinate in pure grain alcohol overnight. Obviously, there was no liquid left in the morning as the fruit had absorbed it all. We then made a concoction with Hawaiian Punch, Wink (remember that stuff?) and a couple other ingredients that I can’t remember.

We would pour the entire mixture into a dirty trash barrel (we were in college, remember) and would fill up the Red Solo Cups with a Wiffle Ball bat (stick the bat in the trash can, put your finger over the hole at the top and remove. Let your finger loose of the hole and fill up the cup). Then we’d grab a little fruit for a garnish.

This stuff was lethal.

I remember there being a group of girls that thought we were disgusting (correctly, I might add) and decided they just wanted some fruit. Oh, what a mistake that was for them.

The lawn in front of the building was littered with passed out kids.

Why we never wound up in jail or killed someone is completely beyond me.

Sometimes, I really miss college. :)

turfmann on February 11, 2013 at 9:55 PM

Maker’s Moron’s Mark.

The booze for the deluded diluted.

profitsbeard on February 11, 2013 at 9:55 PM

HellCat on February 11, 2013 at 9:43 PM

Indeed.

Rusty Allen on February 11, 2013 at 9:57 PM

turfmann on February 11, 2013 at 9:55 PM

Sounds like your college sexperience was a lot better than mine!

What you describe reminds me of Jungle Juice.

Quart of Hawaiian Punch, orange juice, grapefruit juice, handle of vodka, cup of water lol

blatantblue on February 11, 2013 at 9:57 PM

Yes, if you are from Kentucky. It’s hard to find any dessert recipe without bourbon in the state.

HellCat on February 11, 2013 at 9:43 PM

And the jello is awesome! ;0

Happy Nomad on February 11, 2013 at 9:58 PM

blatantblue on February 11, 2013 at 9:57 PM

I never followed a recipe, just poured all kinds of stuff in.

Rusty Allen on February 11, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Sometimes, I really miss college. :)

turfmann on February 11, 2013 at 9:55 PM

We called them garbage can parties.

Usually it was a BYOB party where we supplied the fruit juice and numerous cans of pineapple rings.

The guests brought the 1.75′s of vodka, gin, everclear….anything clear.
Enter the door, dump your booze in the can (we lined ours with a clean garbage bag :>) — and drink up.

yeah…I remember those days.
barely.

exsanguine on February 11, 2013 at 10:07 PM

I never followed a recipe, just poured all kinds of stuff in.

Rusty Allen on February 11, 2013 at 9:59 PM

thats the spirit!

blatantblue on February 11, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Stocking up on the 90 proof as we speak.

Good Lt on February 11, 2013 at 10:16 PM

You use bourbon in your pie crusts?

Rusty Allen on February 11, 2013 at 9:20 PM

Bourbon is a great alcohol to use with Apple pies, the flavors go great together. Usually I just use Vodka or rum or something though. I’ve used cheap cognac before too. Anything 40% alc or higher works for pie.

vegconservative on February 11, 2013 at 10:20 PM

vegconservative on February 11, 2013 at 10:20 PM

That sounds great. I had a slice of apple pie in Tennesee a couple years ago, and the crust was great. Maybe that was the trick.

Rusty Allen on February 11, 2013 at 10:22 PM

Bartenders who water down drinks are incensed that Maker’s Mark is stealing their game.

viking01 on February 11, 2013 at 10:28 PM

It hasn’t been 99% for years now.

RickB on February 11, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Or ever.

alchemist19 on February 11, 2013 at 9:46 PM

Don’t know about today’s Everclear, but back when I was drinking it (a lo-o-o-ng time ago) it was 197 Proof.

Solaratov on February 11, 2013 at 10:28 PM

So I was tired of the bloat from drinking beer. Decided it was time to switch to straight alcohol. I started with scotch and enjoyed it but the cost was prohibitive. I switched to bourbon because damnit I’m American. I had a three phase process laid out going from the low end (Beam, Evan Williams, Ezra Brooks) to the mid-level stuff (Beam black label, Maker’s Mark) and finally the higher end stuff I can find around here (Woodford Reserve, Knob Creek, Bulleit). Got through phase 1, decided to scrap phase 2 and bought some Woodford Reserve last week. I am looking forward to the next part of phase 3.

I found Evan Williams to be the best of the cheap bourbons and luckily also the cheapest. Woodford Reserve is pretty tasty. A friend ordered me some Buffalo Trace so I’ll probably do that one next before the Knob/Bulleit combo.

I don’t drink to drunkenness very often (the Ravens winning sent me over the edge though) and I actually feel a lot better on a day to day basis. My wife thinks I’m slightly crazy but that’s only because she hasn’t tasted the Woodford Reserve I figure.

hump1201 on February 11, 2013 at 10:33 PM

Yeah, I drank everclear in high school. 95%

Rusty Allen on February 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Don’t know about today’s Everclear, but back when I was drinking it (a lo-o-o-ng time ago) it was 197 Proof.

Solaratov on February 11, 2013 at 10:28 PM

192 proof is the highest you can ever go, and even that is rounding a bit. At that point ethanol and water can’t be separated by distillation and it’s a lot more work to get purer alcohol.

alchemist19 on February 11, 2013 at 10:35 PM

Less… is less.

If you drink enough Bourbon you won’t care if your pie crusts are flaky.

viking01 on February 11, 2013 at 10:43 PM

192 proof is the highest you can ever go, and even that is rounding a bit. At that point ethanol and water can’t be separated by distillation and it’s a lot more work to get purer alcohol.

alchemist19 on February 11, 2013 at 10:35 PM

What would you know? Your kind tried to make gold from lead. That’s Obama stuff, vanilla from poop. :)

arnold ziffel on February 11, 2013 at 10:54 PM

I’ll just import some of my replies from the other thread since they are relevant here:

A local bartender insists that consumers will notice the difference, the same way they’d notice if he started diluting beer by pouring a half shot of water into everyone’s pint.

Anyone that tells you they’re going to notice a drop from 45 ABV to 42 is full of Holy Shi’ite. Completely full of it.

I work in the wine industry, and most people can’t tell the difference between a 12.5 and 14.5 percent wine.

blatantblue on February 11, 2013 at 8:44 PM

Trust me, we notice (especially now that it’s public). Prices are inflated enough as it is and whiskey shouldn’t be compared to beer or wine.

When I drink whiskey, it’s two glasses over ice (or sipping stones) savored over a period of time, I know exactly how different whiskeys, with different alcohol content, effect me. Maker’s Mark was perfect with its taste and kick (you don’t drink wine for the kick), now they’re slightly altering that kick.

Maker’s Mark was a good 90 proof bourbon, that was its identity.

When it comes to sub 90 proof I prefer Yamazaki 12 year (86) and Powers Gold Label (80). I prefer to use sipping stones with those drinks while MM went perfectly with ice as it slowly melted to bring out the taste, but that also dilutes the drink over time. I’m just real fussy when it comes to my whiskey, right down to the type of glass and shape of the ice, a lot of whiskey drinkers are this way so I’m surprised they would think a change like this isn’t that big of a deal.

Daemonocracy on February 11, 2013 at 10:57 PM

Woodford Reserve.

KCB on February 11, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Bingo. If you want better tasting or more expensive whiskey than Woodford, you pick out a nice scotch or better yet, splurge on a bottle of Midleton Very Rare.

Ooooohhhhh.

Jaibones on February 11, 2013 at 10:59 PM

Try Bulleit bourbon (or the even better rye, if you can find it). Vastly superior to Maker’s Mark.

Mark Jaquith on February 11, 2013 at 11:00 PM

Woodford Reserve.

KCB on February 11, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Knob Creek

BacaDog on February 11, 2013 at 11:09 PM

Nice call, Mark.

Jaibones on February 11, 2013 at 11:10 PM

Knob Creek

BacaDog on February 11, 2013 at 11:09 PM

100 proof. Yikes.

Jaibones on February 11, 2013 at 11:12 PM

Try Bulleit bourbon (or the even better rye, if you can find it). Vastly superior to Maker’s Mark.

Mark Jaquith on February 11, 2013 at 11:00 PM

YES. Thank you. It is hard to find it here in Michigan at times. I have a bottle that has been put into a PVC time capsule going on four years now. Waiting for a special occassion.

mechkiller_k on February 11, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Bourbon can only be made in Kentucky. Everything else is whisky. Jack Daniels lowered its alcohol content down from 45 proof in the around 2004 to 40 proof, no one cared. I used to own a wine and spirits store. The liquor drinkers were somewhat sane. People who really like wine are insane and drove me crazy. After a few drinks everything tastes the same.

SC.Charlie on February 11, 2013 at 11:17 PM

So… you’re complaining that the real world isn’t operating according to theory? Economic theory is not a set of normative statements, but an explanation, a set of “positive” statements, regarding human behavior.

Theory is supposed to describe reality, not vice-versa. If reality doesn’t conform with theory, then there’s a problem with the theory.

I’m always amused by folks who think that economics explains both how the world is, and how the world ought to be. With any system of reasoning, you only get to pick one, and economics is not in the “ought” business.

Stoic Patriot on February 11, 2013 at 9:36 PM

What reality are you talking about? He is poking fun at MM Executives for not making their decision according to economic theory, a sound theory mind you.

You’re assuming they did what they had to do, that their decision reflects reality, how do you know that?

Daemonocracy on February 11, 2013 at 11:17 PM

Jack Daniels lowered its alcohol content down from 45 proof in the around 2004 to 40 proof, no one cared.

SC.Charlie on February 11, 2013 at 11:17 PM

Yeah but, it’s Jack Daniels. I wouldn’t say it’s the Budweiser of bourbon/whiskey since it is decent, but it’s close.

Daemonocracy on February 11, 2013 at 11:23 PM

Woodford Reserve.

KCB on February 11, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Bookers

:)

Shy Guy on February 11, 2013 at 11:25 PM

Yeah but, it’s Jack Daniels. I wouldn’t say it’s the Budweiser of bourbon/whiskey since it is decent, but it’s close.

Daemonocracy on February 11, 2013 at 11:23 PM

My mistake, Jack Daniels is not a bourbon because it’s not made in Bourbon, Kentucky.

Daemonocracy on February 11, 2013 at 11:29 PM

*clink*

KOOLAID2 on February 11, 2013 at 11:52 PM

What would you know? Your kind tried to make gold from lead. That’s Obama stuff, vanilla from poop. :)

arnold ziffel on February 11, 2013 at 10:54 PM

Obama stuff is trying to make effective government out of the communist manifesto. Given those options I think I’d have more success trying to turn the lead into gold. :)

alchemist19 on February 11, 2013 at 11:59 PM

I may have to lower myself to trying Rebel Yell.

trigon on February 11, 2013 at 11:59 PM

I prefer Bulleit, but am drinking Evan Williams

rbj on February 11, 2013 at 9:12 PM

I like Bulleit, but it is a “special occasion” bourbon. You know, like Saturday night. Their rye is excellent, too. My everyday bourbon is Evan Williams, and I like their higher end products too.

As I said in the headlines thread, you can’t just ramp up bourbon production. It has to age. Increases in distillery production now won’t hit the market for years.

Stupid move by the Maker’s people. They have a niche product whose identity is tied to snob appeal, and they’re going to destroy the snob appeal. After they destroy the brand, no doubt they will wind up in gubmint service.

novaculus on February 12, 2013 at 12:29 AM

Well – I have been a lifelong fan of MM, but recently had started buying Gentleman Jack as my regular bottle – for no apparent reason. Couldn’t even tell myself why I was changing.

Call it divine intervention. I think I’ll stick with the Gentleman Jack, though.

CycloneCDB on February 12, 2013 at 1:43 AM

For my money I’d rather buy a single malt if I’m going to spend that much.

OxyCon on February 12, 2013 at 2:02 AM

I prefer the Makers Mark export version (with the BLACK wax)… its a little sweeter…

Khun Joe on February 12, 2013 at 4:29 AM

yeah…I remember those days.
barely.

exsanguine on February 11, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Yeah, I know what you mean.

Without all that alcohol (etc., etc.) I would have been on my third or fourth Nobel Prize by now and Ben Carson would have been begging me to perform brain surgery on him.

I’m the *hick* Reverend Jim of my *hick* generation.

turfmann on February 12, 2013 at 5:11 AM

Woodford Reserve.

KCB on February 11, 2013 at 8:45 PM

That’s the obvious choice, but for something more exotic you can try Buffalo Trace, or Town Branch, even thought it’s a bit of a bastard since it’s distilled in TN and Bottled in KY.

DFCtomm on February 12, 2013 at 6:18 AM

Schlitz beer?
Once the largest selling beer in the world, I think. At their peak the decided to change everything. People noticed right away. They changed thee whole process and started using cheaper ingredients and people noticed right away and stopped buying the beer. I think they tried to change it back but it was too late. They bottomed out.

JellyToast on February 12, 2013 at 6:31 AM

Schlitz actually has just gone back to its original formula. Trying to establish itself as a niche retro beer ala PBR.

Zomcon JEM on February 12, 2013 at 8:01 AM

I am an official Ambassador for Maker’s Maker’s Mark. It is a cool promotion where you can get freebies, etc. That being said, there is probably not much wrong with lowering the alcohol content; however, advertising it as they are probably isn’t the brightest idea. Most people cannot tell the difference between brands of bourbon (or vodka, or canadian, or tequila). Those that say they can are either well trained or lying so that they can pay the higher price for the prestige of a premium label. If you mix your booze, it is already dropping the alcohol percentage and altering the original taste.

DAT60A3 on February 12, 2013 at 8:11 AM

AP’s analogy : Makers Mark vis-vie BMW…is appropriate as Makers Mark drinkers are the same type/snoots that would purchase/drive BMW

But if you really want to drink good sour mash corn liqqor you just gotta reach out and grab a bottle of OLD CROW ;)

PS: Don’t whine you Makers Mark drinkers….it’s a bonafide liberal solution to the problem :D

BigSven on February 12, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Makers Mark is garbage anyway. If you haven’t already, pick up some Buffalo Trace and if you even liked MM in the first place, you’ll forget all about it. I’d also agree with the several commentors mentioning Bulleit. Very good stuff. Woodford is decent, but if you’re looking to step up to a higher level bourbon in the Woodford price range, you’re better off trying out a Jefferson’s Reserve, Noah’s Mill (my personal favorite), Blanton’s or Eagle Rare. Anyway, bourbon snob rant over.

The reboot of Schlitz is really pretty good. It’s a much better beer than anything else in that price range, and has pretty much become my go to beer for keeping on hand in the fridge.

aic4ever on February 12, 2013 at 8:19 AM

DAT60A3 on February 12, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Well, I’ve been an Ambassador for years (since the program first started, in fact). I’ve always been a fan of Maker’s as a good easy-drinking Bourbon. While I appreciate the heavier Bourbons out there, Maker’s was always a good everyday drink for me. Neat, no ice, and I’m pretty sure in that serving many lay drinkers will also notice the difference.

You can definitely tell the difference between Maker’s and other brands (Maker’s doesn’t have rye, which tends to figure more prominently in other brands) as it drinks softer. Similarly, add water in the proportion needed to dilute the whisky from 90 proof to 84 proof, and again, I’m confident that the difference will be noticeable. 3% is not insignificant. It’s the difference between a plane-jane IPA and a double IPA.

Circling back, my Senior Ambassador barrel is going to be ready for bottling soon and I’m a little bitter that it will be the 84 proof instead of the 90 that I’ve been drinking for years.

Mainly, my position is that it won’t be that I’ll stop buying Maker’s Mark…it’s that Maker’s Mark has stopped making it.

JohnTant on February 12, 2013 at 8:24 AM

Makers Mark will not
Will be able to keep up with
The reduced demand.

Makers Mark is riding a fad right now. They have an established market of long-time consumers, but added to that are about a Million Hipster Douches who are ordering Makers Mark in bars because they heard it was cool. But the one thing a Hipster Douche fears even more than the heartbreak of Psoriasis is looking like a sucker. As soon as they learn that Beam is playing them for fools, they will switch to some other drink, like Bushmills and Grapefruit Juice or something.

Haiku Guy on February 12, 2013 at 8:33 AM

Mainly, my position is that it won’t be that I’ll stop buying Maker’s Mark…it’s that Maker’s Mark has stopped making it.

JohnTant on February 12, 2013 at 8:24 AM

And that about sums it up !!

Best comment on the thread

BigSven on February 12, 2013 at 8:36 AM

My bottle is nearly empty. Will prolly buy a case today before it becomes the New Coke of this generation. (Cf. the run on Twinkies last year….)

apostic on February 12, 2013 at 8:54 AM

It’s a somewhat naive viewpoint but I suspect that most people that would buy and drink MM or other pricier similar whiskeys and bourbons like to view the makers behind their favorite beverage of choice as artisans handcrafting the product. It’s always a shock to realize that most of the distillers are all owned by a few of the big boys, run by MBA marketing types who are just looking to develop semi mass market products to fill a pricing/demographic slot. Doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good product and that they may still be made by dedicated master distillers who take their craft seriously but the people making the decisions are just marketing types who have a different agenda. My system is to buy products while they are still new and before marketing has a chance to mess things up or buy from small distillers that are turning out good product that haven’t had a chance to sell out to one of the big boys. I don’ recall any comments saying that this may possibly make MM a little cheaper to produce, thereby raising the profit margin per unit. Sell more at a cheaper cost but same price and hope you don’t lose the too many of those that buy MM because of the brand.

JohnnyL on February 12, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Comment pages: 1 2