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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Listening to Your Customers...

Maker's Mark restoring alcohol volume of whiskey to historic level following backlash
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – After backlash from customers, the producer of Maker's Mark bourbon is reversing a decision to cut the amount of alcohol in bottles of its famous whiskey.

Rob Samuels, Maker's Mark's chief operating officer, said Sunday that it is restoring the alcohol volume of its product to its historic level of 45 percent, or 90 proof. Last week, it said it was lowering the amount to 42 percent, or 84 proof, because of a supply shortage.

Imagine that. People that had an attachment to a brand don't like it when the brand changes its signature product. Shocking! I don't know which marketing genius came up with the idea to change the recipe to lower the alcohol content, but I certainly hope they're looking for work in a different field, because they certainly don't understand the hard liquor business...

What I don't understand is why they didn't try a different tactic, like packaging the same exact recipe in smaller bottles or the time-honored tradition of raising the price. Messing with a tried-and-true drink's formula is a recipe for disaster - remember two little words here: New Coke. I'm surprised that this lesson has been lost so quickly, especially considering how horrific a failure New Coke was...

It's almost like we forget the past and are condemned to repeat it or something!

That is all.

Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jack Daniels dropped the alcohol content several years ago without too much protest. It only corn mash, so who cares?

Bourdon is just as much a religion as basketball in Kentucky. Mess with it down here at your peril.

Gerry

Brad_in_MA said...

Jay,

As I understand the situation, it was the production folks, not marketing, who caused the uproar. Seems there was a shortage of one particular ingredient . . . and rather than shutting down the production, thinning out the product allowed materials to be stretched to ride out the shortage. As one who has occasionally enjoyed Makers Mark for more than 25 years, watering down from 90 to 80 proof is a cardinal sin on the order of changing the Coca Cola formula.

Yours in bourbon,

Brad

Siltazay said...

Gerry,
Seems I read in another article about this that the reason Jack Daniels got away with the change is because they did it before the rise of mass media such as twitter and facebook. Odds are that if they tried it today, they would face the same type of backlash.

Bubblehead Les. said...

New Coke? At least they survived. Remember what happened to Schlitz?

Matthew said...

Per actual booze experts, the "watering down" effect is as if the same shot was added to the ice 30 seconds sooner. In a mix you'd never know.

Stretch said...

New Coke
Mustang II
S&W with zits
Don't mess with a winner.