Maker’s Mark Lowers Proof, Fields Complaints

John Sommers II/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Maker’s Mark has responded after angry customers took to Twitter to complain about the company lowering the alcohol content in its whisky.

“Hey, @MakersMark Raise prices if you must, but don’t mess with success! Ever heard of New Coke? #bourbon” wrote one Twitter user.

Due to unforeseen demand, Maker’s Mark announced that it would be decreasing the proof of its whisky 3 percent from 90 proof to 84 proof.  The brand still wanted to keep the prices competitive without raising them out of reach.

“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 percent ABV Maker’s Mark we’ll be able to better meet our ongoing supply issues without compromising the taste,” said Bill Samuels Jr., chairman emeritus of Maker’s Mark, in a statement.

The one-brand company doesn’t purchase bourbon from other distillers, making forecasting difficult. The age range of the whiskey, five years and nine months to seven years, allowed the brand to keep ahead of market shortages in the past.

Water is cut into all bourbons -- and this is how they will be reducing the alcohol content in the future.

The owners tested the watered-down bourbon themselves and validated them with consumer research.  Both agreed that “there’s no difference in the taste,” said Samuels.

One Twitter user defended the brand: “Regarding the @MakersMark deproofing: guys, calm down. We have a liquid constraint. It’ll still taste delicious & get you plenty drunk.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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