By Matt Adams
Seems that Rob and Bill Samuels have a soul after all. It took a week of ranting and raving by the masses of devout Makers fans on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets to get them to reconsider the awful mistake they were about to make in watering down their whiskey. Nine out of ten Maker's drinkers probably would never had noticed the difference between an 90 proof and an 84 proof version, but their biggest mistake in this whole mess to me was actually TELLING us that they were making the change. Or was it a mistake? I have to believe that there is some maketing genius who thought this whole thing up just to get some noise going about the brand. In case you don't know, it happens to be the final 2 weeks of one of the most popular TV shows that Maker's Mark advertises on. If you watch "Gold Rush" as much as I do, you also would have noticed the Maker's Mark commercials. I find it a real coincidence that one of the most popular shows on the Discovery Channel, which is catered perfectly for your typical Maker's Mark drinker, is the only place I actually see a Maker's Mark commercial. I did a little digging and discovered this little "nugget." The PUN is intended by the way, so back off pansy ass.
In 2011, The Discovery Channel made a deal with Maker's Mark to make custom commercials during "Swamp Brothers" and "Gold Rush". When the deal was made, Discovery Communications Ad Sales President Joe Abruzzese said, “Discovery Channel’s viewers and the Maker’s Mark brand fans share so many similar attributes and interests, it was a natural fit,".
Read it here, I don't make this shit up:
What a great way for Maker's Mark to leverage those ads. Drum up a bourbon shortage, get the fans and media buzzing for a few weeks, re-tract the buzz and have a platform for brand recognition during a season finale of Gold Rush. I can hear the people now, "Hey, that's the company that was going to water down their shit and everyone lost it on Twitter." "That shit must be GOOD and strong now, let's buy a bottle." Custom made for the non Maker's fan and the die hards. Win, win...
Conspiracy theory... Yes. But God Damnit, I have to bring Gold Rush into this somehow! I've heard of crazier shit happening and look what New Coke did for Coke. People ran out and bought the shit out of it. I remember being a kid and my dad and I went to the store specifically to get the OLD COKE before the new shit came to our small town store.
All in all, I would have bought Maker's Mark in its watered down state because personally, I like the stuff. The biggest win for me now is I don't have to blow $400 on a credit card to buy a case of Maker's to squirrel away. I still might get that case after all, but don't tell my wife. Keith, I might have a case for you to stash for me in your sock drawer with that Baby Bourbon. The fans of Maker's Mark win in the end and the brand wrapped it all up in one tidy letter, (below) that everyone will accept with open arms. Consider it the Red Wax seal of approval on a made up "shortage". So I say anyways...
You spoke. We listened.
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.
Rob Samuels Bill Samuels, Jr
Chief Operating Officer Chairman Emeritus