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Maker's Mark executive talks about decision to keep proof the same

LORETTO, Ky. (WKYT) - Maker's Mark has reversed a decision to lower the alcohol by volume in its bourbon.

The decision was met with an outpouring of emails, phone calls and complaints.

"After listening to our consumers, they were right and we are going to return to 90 proof," says Rob Samuels, Chief Operating Officer for Maker's Mark.

The company thought lowering the proof could help avoid a shortage.

"It wasn't a mistake, we were very careful. We had focused all our time and attention on the taste," says Samuels.

If there was any mistake, Samuels says it was failing to predict just how big the bourbon boom would eventually become.

"We didn't see that we missed it. The bourbon category that for many years was a very sluggish, no growth category, for decades, has become the shining star within all of spirits. And we didn't see that. We missed it."

Samuels says he learned a lesson about brand loyalty.

"What we heard back was a very humbling, very clear feedback from our customers. And what they told us was they would rather have the occasional shortage than in anyway change Maker's Mark."


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