Maker’s Mark restores liquor content after public outcry

A week after announcing it would dilute its bourbon in response to increasing demand, the brand turned on its heels and went back to the old formula. Did it establish a model for brand mind-changes?

Maker’s Mark wasn’t the first whisky distiller to announce it would reduce the alcohol content of its liquor—Jack Daniel’s did it in 2004—but it was the first to do so in the age of social media, and as a consequence, it reversed its decision.

“You spoke. We listened,” Rob and Bill Samuels, the company’s chief operating officer and chairman emeritus, respectively, wrote in the Feb. 17 Facebook post announcing the reversal. “We’re humbled by your overwhelming response and passion for Maker’s Mark. While we thought we were doing what’s right, this is your brand-and you told us in large numbers to change our decision.”

That post came only seven days after the initial announcement that Maker’s Mark would go from 90 proof to 84 proof, a period in which numerous blog posts and tons of Facebook comments raking the brand over the coals for the plan to dilute its bourbon.

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