Field of Science

Unmaking Maker's

The whole thing about whiskey is the proof. The whole idea of proof is a test of the strength, the alcohol content of the distilled beverage.  The way they used to test whiskey, seeing if a 1:1 mixture of whiskey and gunpowder burned evenly (if too watery it wouldn't burn, and you can figure out what would happen with more ethanol!), which turned out to be about 50% ethanol and was termed 100% proved, or 100 proof, later set to be exactly 50% ethanol, setting the scale for proof from 0-200 for 0-100% ethanol.  Watering down whiskey is a time honored way to cheat the customer.  Now Maker's Mark has a pretty good reputation, a modestly good bourbon at a reasonable price, so it's gotten rather popular although by no means the best even in this price range based upon TPP's extensive testing.  It would seem that any and every manufacturer of anything wants to be so popular that the demand exceeds the supply because if TPP remembers his economics lesson, probably learned from Father Guido Sarducci, when demand exceeds supply you get to charge more and make more money!  So where the heck did MM makers learn their bidness economics?  Instead of riding the demand to higher profits these morons are watering down the product there by assuring that the demand will go down!  Yes indeed, MM bourbon is going from 90 proof (45%) to 84 proof (42%).  Now this isn't probably enough to notice unless an expert was doing a side by side comparison, but it's basically 'old fashioned' crooked dealing, not to mention stupid, even if you put the information on the label.  So glad this isn't my bourbon. You begin to wonder who's the Mark. 


Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if this is due to the difference in time-scales for demand and supply? There's more demand right now for MM, but doesn't it need to be aged? So they're encountering a supply bottleneck. I agree it would still bring in more revenue to raise prices, but if they're trying to maximize market share it might make sense to water down what they have now and add production ASAP. The real question is if when they have more supply, whether they stay at 42% or go back to 45%. I somehow suspect the former.

The Phytophactor said...

The necessary aging of whiskey is a real problem because you are guessing years in advance how much you should make. As you suggest there may be another "strategy" in play, but that also supports the conclusion that MM's dedication to quality is weaker than its whiskey.