Monday, February 11, 2013

Maker's Mark ABV

I've been getting asked a lot about my thoughts on the Maker's Mark announcement that they'll be cutting the ABV from 45 percent to 42 percent in order to meet the high demand for their Bourbon, so here they are:

Basically, there seems to be lots of media hype over nothing, though I don't know if I agree with the distillery's decision. They could take the ABV down to 40 percent with no problem unless you're drinking it neat (which most people aren't). A difference of more than 3 percent ABV is already introduced by variations in ice quantity and melt rate (due to both ice temp and ambient temp), as well as differences in mixer volumes. I guarantee if you've had two Maker's and gingers in an average bar, they varied by more than 3 percent. Have it straight on the rocks and the ABV passes through 42 percent as you're drinking it -- and then keeps going down as the ice melts. If a 3 percent reduction in ABV compromises the product, then I've rarely had it uncompromised.

Having said that, I would have preferred they maintain the formula and play up the shortage, Cabbage Patch Kids-style. IMO, the last thing you ever want to do is alter your product, though I'm sure they know and considered that. I guess the question then becomes,  would MM drinkers have preferred a price increase to an ABV decrease? I probably would have, but let me know if you have thoughts on this -- thanks!