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How Much Did You Pay For Whiskey Today?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by doctorquant, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

  2. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Just seems like a bad idea. Why change the flavor instead of raising the price a couple bucks? There's a reason people choose Maker's over other whiskeys and it's not the price.
  3. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    Dropping wrestling from the Olympics looks inspired by comparison.

    Seriously, what in God's name are they thinking? For a short-term windfall, they are risking long-term damage to their brand. Imagine Apple deciding to skimp on a microchip or two so demand for iPads will smooth out.
  4. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    They're getting a ton of blow-back for this on social media, and have already been forced to respond:

    Thanks for your feedback!

    A lot of people took the time to share their thoughts regarding our recent announcement. We always appreciate open and honest conversation about Maker’s Mark and we’ve gotten plenty of feedback, both supportive and otherwise. Because there are so many comments, it’s hard for an old guy like me to respond, particularly 140 characters at a time. Now that I’ve had time to compose my thoughts, please allow me to try to answer most of the questions we’re hearing.

    And by the way, I asked Rob if I could write this response since many people have wondered if I’m on board with the decision to lower the alcohol-by-volume (ABV) level. I am, and here’s why.

    First, it’s important to understand that our primary focus now and for the past 50 years hasn’t changed. It’s product quality and consistency, batch-to-batch, year-to-year, with the primary measure of that consistency being the unique Maker’s Mark taste profile. That’s all that truly matters in the end.

    Since we’re a one-brand company that’s never purchased bourbon from other distillers when supplies are short, forecasting is very difficult. Over the years, our one variable that helps us avoid market shortages has been the age of the whisky in the Maker’s bottle. That range is between five years nine months and seven years. Because Maker’s Mark is aged to taste, Dad never put a specific age statement on the bottle. It wasn’t the age that mattered; it was the taste, the quality and the consistency.

    Some people are asking why we didn’t just raise the price if demand is an issue. We don’t want to price Maker’s Mark out of reach. Dad’s intention when he created this brand was to make good-tasting bourbon accessible and to bring more fans into the fold, not to make it exclusive. And, with regard to the price, the value of Maker’s Mark isn’t set by alcohol volume. It’s about the quality of the recipe and ingredients that go into it, all the handcrafting that goes into the production and how it tastes.

    Some of you have questioned how we reduce the alcohol content. The fact is, other than barrel-strength bourbons, all bourbons are cut with water to achieve the desired proof for bottling. This is a natural step in the bourbon-making process. Maker’s Mark has always been made this way and will continue to be made this way.

    As we looked at potential solutions to address the shortage, we agreed again that the most important thing was whether it tastes the same. The distillery made up different batches that Rob and I tested every evening over the course of a month. Every batch at 42% ABV had the same taste profile that we’ve always had. Then, we validated our own tastings with structured consumer research and the Tasting Panel at the distillery, who all agreed: there’s no difference in the taste.

    For those of you who have questioned if the supply problem is real, I can assure you that it is. While not every part of the country has seen shortages yet, many have, and the demand is continuing to grow at a pace we’ve never before experienced. While we are investing today to expand capacity for the future, by producing 42% ABV Maker’s Mark we’ll be able to better meet our ongoing supply issues without compromising the taste.

    Ultimately, all I can ask is that you reserve judgment until you actually taste the whisky, like I did. If you can make it down to the distillery, we’re doing tastings every day with the 42% ABV whisky to give you a first-hand opportunity to try it for yourself. If you can’t make it to the distillery, please give it a try when it gets to your city. And please write me back at that point. I want to hear what you think.

    In the meantime, I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to write us a note. It shows that you care about Maker’s Mark, and that’s what we’ve been striving for over the past 50 years. I hope you’ll give us the chance to continue earning that devotion and allow us to prove that we didn’t screw up your whisky. All the best.


    Bill Samuels, Jr.
    Chairman Emeritus

  5. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    So the son is fucking up everyrthing the dad built?

    Ain't that America.
  6. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    In all seriousness, I find it very hard to believe that the vast, vast majority of MM devotees could actually tell the difference between the 84 proof and 90 proof versions. In a regular drink (which likely also has ice and soda or water or what have you in there, too) you might be talking about a tenth of an ounce less whiskey. I suspect the natural variation from drink to drink is higher than that.

    Overseas demand for U.S. whiskey has surged in the last couple of years, fueled by a weaker dollar, lower tariffs and growth in developing economies. This demand would have been impossible to anticipate six+ years ago, and because the whiskey has to be aged so long, once the demand is here there's nothing much that can be done. What reading I've done suggests that MM will not be the only firm dealing with this issue. This might actually have been a fairly clever free advertising ploy, given the attention the firm has gotten for doing what most/all of its competition is going to be doing.
  7. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    It doesn't matter. This is the company that had the slogan "It tastes expensive .. and is." This whole thing is bullshit. They could have used the exclusivity to their advantage and jacked up prices 20 percent.

    That's just a lie.
  8. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    In one of the stories I read about this a guy raised the point that MM is not the only bourbon put on the shelves by its parent company. They have low-end stuff, mid-tier stuff and then really high-end stuff. Putting together, and pricing properly, a portfolio of products like that is damn tricky. I suspect that's what's behind the decision to not raise price but rather dilute the product.

    BTW, I'm not a spirits drinker as a general rule. Beer and wine are for me, with an occasional bloody mary or margarita.
  9. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Maker's Mark is owned by Beam Inc., but it is very much its own brand. I won't touch Jim Beam but buy at least three or four bottles of Maker's Mark a year.
  10. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    Well, now you're going to have to buy at least 3.2143 or 4.2857 bottles a year to get the same effect. So I imagine you are pissed! :D
  11. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I am simply not going to buy Maker's Mark. There are plenty of other fine bourbons. Maker's Mark is one of my favorites, but it's not my favorite.
  12. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    Whenever they were deciding how much bourbon to put in the pipeline 5-7 years back, presumably they ran the numbers on what they'd make at different sales quantities, including the best case scenario of sell every drop.

    Now that they've hit the magic number, they're going to get greedy for more at the risk of damaging the brand? Because rest assured the day will come when the bourbon market is a glut and they'll need brand loyalty to keep their share of the market. But just like everything else, all that matters is scraping the change off the table now, now, now.
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