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Maker's Mark Proof ABV

BREAKING ‘s Tom Fischer spoke today with Rob Samuels, Chief Operating Officer of Makers Mark Bourbon Distillery, by phone as Samuels confirms that Maker’s Mark is reducing the ABV of their Bourbon by 3% effective immediately from 45% ABV (90 proof)  to 42% ABV (84 proof).

The reduction of proof will be permanent for this global brand and will help Maker’s Mark to put their popular Bourbon in the hands of consumers who are having difficulty finding Maker’s on the shelves. is the first media outlet to report this story and publish an interview with Rob Samuels.  Twitter activity on @BourbonBlog and emails to our inbox have been full of questions.

We want to help answer those with our interview with Rob and story below AND we’re asking for your comments and feedback to the news on this link!

“For the last 25 years, Maker’s Mark has grown at a rate of between 8 to 9% a year,” Samuels tells
While Maker’s is happy to have created such a popular Bourbon, Maker’s is a product that takes around 6-8 years to age.

Maker's Mark bottled at the reduced 42% proof

Maker’s Mark bottled at the reduced 42% proof may be on shelves as soon as the next few weeks

With aged product in massive demand coming from a single source supply in Loretto, Kentucky, there are challenges filling demands.

“We’ve been adding on new aging warehouses and we’re looking at building a new third distillery in Loretto sometime soon to keep up with demand.” says Samuels.

“We’ve confirmed the taste of the 84 proof Maker’s is exactly the same as what consumers taste in the 90 proof by our tasting panel,” explains Samuels.

This tasting panel consists of full time Maker’s Mark employees.

Maker’s Mark reached out to their Maker’s Mark Ambassadors by email today to let them know first about this change (see full email test below).

For loyal fans of Maker’s Mark Bourbon that are questioning how this change  will be noticed by   their own tastebuds, Samuels says he is confident that when fans taste Maker’s Mark for themselves that their reviews will be the same as they have always been.

Maker's Mark Bourbon Collection: Maker's Mark Bourbon, Maker's 46 and Maker's White

Maker’s Mark Bourbon Collection: Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Maker’s 46 and Maker’s White

The Maker’s Mark Bourbon brand as we know today was born in 1953 (watch our archived video interview below with Rob Samuels as he tells Tom Fischer the story of Maker’s Mark)

“My grandparents decided to bring Bourbon and good taste together for the first time in 1953,” Samuels says.

He explains that back then as it is today, Maker’s Mark wasn’t about proof, it was about the flavor. When the brand started, the Bourbon was bottled 45% ABV (90 proof)

“My grandparents created a Bourbon without the bite, bitterness, and revolutionized the whole process.”

So how much will the proof reduction help Maker’s Mark bring Bourbon to thirsty fans?

“Not a huge amount with the growth of the brand. However, this will help us extend the supplies. The change will help us get Maker’s on the shelves,” Samuels tells us.

You may see the Maker’s Mark Bourbon bottled at the new 42% ABV on shelves within the next few weeks.

Maker’s Mark 46’s at  94 proof, only available in the U.S. and some Canadian markets, will stay the same the same proof says Samuels.

While there once were Maker’s Mark  Japanese and international only exports of varying proofs, the only other product that Maker’s Mark Distillers currently produces is  the Maker’s White, the un-aged distillate of  Maker’s Mark available only at the Maker’s Mark Distillery gift shop.

For the latest breaking news, reviews and updates from the world of Bourbon , we invite you subscribe to our free Bourbon Newsletter here!

Interview with Rob Samuels, Story of Maker’s Mark

Official E-mail to Maker’s Mark Ambassadors

From: Rob Samuels <>

Rob Samuels. Chief Operating Officer of Makers Mark Bourbon Distillery and Ambassador-in-Chief

Rob Samuels. Chief Operating Officer of Makers Mark Bourbon Distillery and Ambassador-in-Chief

Date: February 9, 2013, 9:16:34 AM EST
Subject: A message for our Ambassadors

Dear Maker’s Mark® Ambassador,

Lately we’ve been hearing from many of you that you’ve been having difficulty finding Maker’s Mark in your local stores. Fact is, demand for our bourbon is exceeding our ability to make it, which means we’re running very low on supply. We never imagined that the entire bourbon category would explode as it has over the past few years, nor that demand for Maker’s Mark would grow even faster.

We wanted you to be the first to know that, after looking at all possible solutions, we’ve worked carefully to reduce the alcohol by volume (ABV) by just 3%. This will enable us to maintain the same taste profile and increase our limited supply so there is enough Maker’s Mark to go around, while we continue to expand the distillery and increase our production capacity.

We have both tasted it extensively, and it’s completely consistent with the taste profile our founder/dad/grandfather, Bill Samuels, Sr., created nearly 60 years ago. We’ve also done extensive testing with Maker’s Mark drinkers, and they couldn’t tell a difference.

Nothing about how we handcraft Maker’s Mark has changed, from the use of locally sourced soft red winter wheat as the flavor grain, to aging the whisky to taste in air-dried American white oak barrels, to rotating our barrels during maturation, to hand-dipping every bottle in our signature red wax.

In other words, we’ve made sure we didn’t screw up your whisky.

By the way, if you have any comments or questions, as always, we invite you to drop us a line at or Thanks for your support. And if you’ve got a little time on your hands, come down and see us at the distillery.


Rob Samuels
Chief Operating Officer

Bill Samuels, Jr.
Chairman Emeritus


Maker's Mark White

Maker’s Mark White available only at Maker’s Mark Distillery Gift Shop



44 Responses to “Maker’s Mark reduces Bourbon by 3% ABV, proof reduction to help satisfy demand”

  1. John Budka

    I eagerly await the latest version. A visit to you and the Bourbon Trail is high up on my wish list.
    John B. Albany.

  2. RJ LaPointe

    Hmmmm….changing the brand. Worked well for Coca-Cola didn’t it??

  3. Adam

    Disappointed. I don’t believe that harming the long term reputation of the brand is worth the short term sales gain. It’s a small change with a long lasting impact. I’m just glad better bourbons exist.

  4. Buck

    It would be interesting to have been able to say …”several months ago we lowered …”

  5. AndyWas

    For the sake of the fellow amateurs reading along, how does reducing the ABV by a couple of points have any meaningful impact on increasing supply?

  6. zenpilgrim

    As an Ambassador, I am still waiting on my email.I will withhold final judgement until I can taste the new product but I have faith they have attempted to stand true to the flavor profile of the current product. To RJ’s point, Coke didn’t try to maintain the same flavor profile when they made their change. I hope they are successful.

  7. mark

    just another way to sell you kentucky water at 100 dollars a gallon. just how much whisky is setting a foreign warehouse. while americans are forced to buying watered down whisky to give corp. america more profit.

  8. Jim Cooper

    I do NOT approve of the reduction of ABV. A reduction of 3% on a 10,000 gal (small) batch equals an efficiency gain of 60 bottles from each batch. Each bottle has an average price of about $30 so that equals $1,800 per batch. Makers is struggling to keep up with demand and this is a small but noticeable attempt to shift this efficiency to the demand side. As someone pointed out, there will not be a 3% price reduction.
    I let Rob know I did not approve of the change.

  9. Stephen Hart

    Hey folks blame our wonderful Govt as over 60% of revenue is tax related. So point the disparaging finger toward DC not the Hollers of KY.