Maker’s Mark to get $67m distillery expansionBy Amy Hopkins
Maker’s Mark is set to receive a US$67 million distillery expansion – one year after the brand admitted its stocks were running low.
The Bourbon distillery, based in Loretto, Kentucky, will receive a third copper still and new warehouses, enabling it to double capacity in the hope of meeting soaring demand.
Preliminary approval was given for up to US$5 million in state tax incentives to be given to the development, for which work will begin next month.
Kentucky governor Steve Beshear said: “This expansion will allow the company to meet that growing global demand while still continuing to hand-craft the product in the same manner that it has for six decades.
“We are very excited that this iconic Kentucky brand continues to grow in popularity.”
Maker’s Mark admitted its stocks were running low in February 2013 and subsequently announced plans to lower its abv by 3% to stretch supply.
However widespread criticism from consumers forced its parent company Beam Inc to backtrack.
At the time, Maker’s Mark chairman Bill Samuels Jr said: “For those of you who have questioned if the supply problem is real, I can assure you that it is. While not every part of the country has seen shortages yet, many have, and the demand is continuing to grow at a pace we’ve never before experienced.
“While we are investing today to expand capacity for the future, by producing 42% abc Maker’s Mark we’ll be able to better meet our ongoing supply issues without compromising the taste.”
The company later revealed that in order to mitigate concerns about the affect this action might have on the quality of the Bourbon, it would instead begin to use a “barrel-rinse process”.
With work soon to begin on the distillery’s expansion, Maker’s Mark has revealed that its first liquid will be barreled in 18 months and will be ready for bottling six years later.
Maker’s Mark chief operating officer, Rob Samuels, said in a message to fans: “After a lot of hard work on the part of a lot of people around here, we’re about to break ground on a third still at our historic distillery. But not just any still. The new one will be right next to the two existing stills that currently produce every drop of Maker’s Mark — and it’ll be identical in every way to them.
“We’re doing this because, as you’re well aware, Maker’s Mark Bourbon takes time to age to perfection, and that’s left us running a bit short of supply in recent years due to the ever-increasing demand from all of you.”
According to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, Bourbon-makers in Kentucky, which produces 95 percent of the world’s supply, have invested more than US$300 million in expansions over the last two years.
The news of this recent expansion comes one month after Japanese drinks group Suntory announced its acquisition of Maker’s Marks’ parent company Beam Inc for US$16bn.