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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 <[email protected]>

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 [email protected] or [email protected]. 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



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

  1. Duke

    Everyone needs to take a chill pill and taste the product. While I appreciate the comments, I rarely see anyone drinking MM neat. We’ve been told it will taste the same. MM hasn’t given us a reason to not trust them.

    I do agree the tax man has his hands in the Ky bourbon barrel way too much as well!

  2. gary

    I had a friend who ran a successful pizza restaurant. After a few years he decided to cut the pizzas into 6 pieces instead of 8, as he had done for years…When I asked him why he made the change, he said that the customers were having trouble eating 8 pieces. This guy would be a candidate for upper management at Jim Beam

  3. StuffAndyMakes

    I would lay money down that most so-called or self-ordained “bourbon aficionados,” let alone your average bourbon geek, would NOT be able to tell the difference between MM at 45% and 42% ABV if the two were put in front of them. MM is made to taste. Read the news item on the MM website and Bill and Rob speak to the fact that they taste tested and the Taste Panel tasted and its up to MM’s flavor profile. I’m with Duke above: Everybody chill out. Wait until you try it before you pass judgement. If you don’t like, SWEET! More for me and Duke.

  4. Bobio Ambassador

    If this happens so much for leaving granddads recipe untouched. Off to the new knob creek I go.
    I know they are keeping the same 14 batch or so untouched as in the past but can’t you jus build another production area and make 2 or 3 batches of 14 barrels in order to supply the demand. Guess not. It switches so do I. Iconic brand known the world over, changes for the almighty dollar. Really ” it’s so more people can get some ”
    I call BULLSHIT.

  5. Informed

    3% drop in ABV equates to 7% more bottles available. I don’t know about all of your areas, but I was going to liquor stores that were out of stock. I am cool with having 42% instead of 0%. Also, if you know anything about Bourbon this isn’t going to change the taste. Almost all Bourbons/whisk(e)y are cut with water from barrel strength ~120 proof. Go ahead and stop drinking MM, more for me! KCCO!

  6. Bobio

    I’ve been drinking makers straight for 25 yrs.
    If you drink it straight or with a cube ( only to chill it )
    You will tell the difference. It’s a wheated bourbon with a hint of sweetness

    Most people I know who drink bourbon, not found of its weak alcohol feel already.
    I love it , thou. Just saying.

  7. Perry

    I don’t drink this brand of bourbon, but for those who do, don’t think it will make a difference. Agree with what has already been said, most probably don’t drink neat anyway. Who’ll notice?

  8. Steve

    It’s all about the money.Sorry but no more Maker’s for me.
    It’s Weller time.

  9. Fran

    Your pompous bloviating on NPR tonight gave me the sinking feeling that the next time I order a bourbon I’m going to be sharing a bottle with a bunch of glass-sniffing posers. Please go away and do something useful.

  10. Bobio

    Ok, sorry, maybe next time we’ll order a house bourbon with coke, tall. Lol
    Waste of time and palate.