Blog: Andy MortonDivine intervention from the Maker for Beam Inc

Andy Morton | 12 February 2013

It was yesterday's big news – an almost unprecedented decision that shook an old and venerated institution to its core and shocked legions of faithful followers.

No, not the Pope resigning, but Beam Inc lowering the abv of Maker's Mark by 3%.

The Vatican's HR issues may have diluted the global coverage of “Kentuckygate”, as I think it ought to be called, but there was still plenty of invective on Twitter from Bourbon drinkers who want Beam's management to follow Pope Benedict XVI down to the employment office. 

“I'm still processing Maker's Mark treachery on a lizard-brain, instinctual level,” drinks magazine Modern Drunkard tweeted, while cooler heads at The Atlantic magazine branded it "a risky move".

just-drinks editor Olly Wehring believes watering-down Maker's Mark is not quite the iconoclastic swipe against all that is holy some would have us believe, and was done at the alter of expediency rather than Mammon. You can read his thoughts here.

There might be another angle to this, though. Maker's Mark is by far more popular in the US than anywhere else. But, could Beam be about to launch a brand push to the rest of the world, where people care less about Maker's Mark's traditional alcohol profile? After all, 42% brings it closer in line with other international spirits and more likely to turn a profit in Bangalore and Bangkok.

And, surely that is something every Beam exec prays for.


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