Bourbon Company Leaves a Bad Taste with Customers March 13 2013

Bourbon Company Leaves a Bad Taste with CustomersThere has been a lot of drama in the bourbon world in the past few weeks, especially if you’re a fan of the brand Maker’s Mark. The popular spirit, distilled in Loretto, Kentucky, has long been known for its distinctive square bottle, red wax seal, and alcohol content a guy could get a good buzz from – U.S. 90 proof (that would be 45% alcohol by volume). But, in an unprecedented move, the company announced in mid-February that it would be reducing the alcoholic content of its flagship spirit from 45 percent to 42 percent (meaning it’s now 84 proof). Gasp! Apparently, the company, face with a large demand for the product decided that it would be okay to “stretch the supply” by watering down the liquor by three percent. Pretty sure they didn’t cut the price to reflect the lower content, of course.

But, as you can imagine, customers of the whiskey were not happy with the decision, although executives at the company insist that there was no discernible change in the taste.  Patrons of the product reached out to the company in record numbers, leaving thousands of disgruntled messages via phone, letter and social media outlets. Basically, the collective sentiment was that “you don’t mess with a man’s whiskey.” So, in a conciliatory gesture, the distillery turned off the hose on the watering plan and will deal with meeting demand the expected way – wait until production can catch up and don’t change a thing!

Those more skeptical even suggest that the blunder was really a marketing ploy similar to the 1980s New Coke fiasco. You may remember when Coca-Cola messed with the original recipe, were the target of a consumer backlash, put the original product back on the market and ultimately enjoyed customers coming back in droves – with even greater fandom than before.  Of course, Maker’s Mark executives insist that there were no intentions of this sort in play.

For men who would like to take charge of their own whiskey-aging, has a really unique product – whiskey mini barrels. A fantastic choice in groomsmen gifts for those men who appreciate kicking back after work and enjoying the mellow, oak-infused flavor profile of whiskey – or actually it can be called “bourbon’ if it’s made right here in the USA. These steel-banded whiskey barrels create a handsome focal point in a home bar or lounge area and will delight any man in your life including groomsmen, brothers, fathers (and father-in-laws!).

Available in several sizes (1 liter, 2 liter, and 3 liter) to accommodate the needs of the recipient, these barrels work just like those super-sized siblings found in distilleries.  The spirit of choice is poured in the barrel (it doesn’t have to be whiskey) and then left for a few days to a few weeks to “age” and develop a more complex flavor.  Alcohol in larger barrels is left to age for months or years; but the scaled-down barrels offer a better liquor-to-wood surface ratio that allows the process to happen more quickly.

The wood of these barrels is made from American White Oak, because it is porous enough to help the bourbon age well, but not so porous that it will allow barrels to leak. The char on the wood is medium and the steel bands are available in a variety of finishes. Other items to enhance to enjoyment of this cool groomsmen gift are also included such as a handy display stand, cork, spigot and handling instructions. Whether presented as wedding gifts, best man gifts, groomsmen gifts, or gifts for the party guy these barrels can be give a mark of distinction by having the recipient’s name, initials or special message burnished into the barrel head.

What do you think of Maker’s Mark “watering down” fiasco? What is your favorite brand of bourbon? Let us know in the comments below.