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Maker's Mark Waters Down Its Whisky

The Kentucky bourbon brand will reduce alcohol content by 3%. Why?

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Less booze...same taste? Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda

02/12/13

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Maker’s Mark is diluting their liquor to increase bourbon supply, the company has announced. The iconic Kentucky whisky brand will reduce alcohol content for the first time in history from 90 proof (45% alcohol) to 84 proof (42% alcohol), since demand has more than doubled in the past seven years. "Over the last 100-plus days, there are many, many instances across lot of different cities where bars, restaurants, package stores have run low, run out," says Rob Samuels, chief operating officer for Maker's Mark and the grandson of the brand's founder. "Given the surge in demand outstripping supply, what we've decided to do very carefully is to slightly reduce the alcohol volume." Bill Samuels Jr. (Rob Samuels’ father) blames himself for the changes saying he failed to foresee the rise in demand for premium bourbon when he was in charge about six years ago. "I was the forecaster in chief around here," he says. "I must have been asleep at the wheel." Other than a little more water being added when the whiskey comes out of the barrel, the recipe will remain the same. The company says changes were made following extensive testing to ensure that extra water would not alter the taste.

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