Maker’s Mark has received a lot of press in recent years. They famously announced last year that they would water down their whiskey in order to increase supply, especially for global markets. The public backlash was fast and furious, leading the maker to reverse course. That reversal boosted their bottom line and garnered a lot of brand support. That might have been part of the reason why Suntory recently purchased Jim Beam, Inc., which owns Maker’s Mark, among other whiskey-makers.
There are many things that make Maker’s special, like their mash bill that doesn’t include rye and their special lake on the property that feeds the distillery with limestone-filtered water.
Cocktail Enthusiast traveled to the distillery to learn more about the operation. They discovered that Maker’s does things right by doing things wrong:
While leading us around the grounds and distillery, Rob Samuels kept joking that Maker’s Mark is a model of inefficiency by choice. One of the more unique “inefficiencies” is the rotation of barrels during their roughly five year and nine month aging process. Each barrel begins aging at the top of the warehouse, where the most intense maturation occurs. They are then moved to the middle of the warehouse and, eventually, to the bottom rack. Samuels tells us that they are the only distillery in the world that rotates their barrels throughout the entire aging process.
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