Supply and Demand

February 10, 2013

Bourbon has experienced something of a boom in recent years: the cocktail renaissance and the explosion of craft distilleries have made the spirit hugely popular overseas. As basic rules of supply and demand dictate, bourbon has, generally, gotten a little more expensive over the last few years.

But Maker's Mark thinks they've figured out a way to beat the system. In order to ensure their product is available to the widest number of people possible, they're going to reduce the alcohol content of their bourbon going forward. Reports the New York Post:

The distillery behind Maker’s Mark bourbon is reducing the amount of alcohol to meet a rise in global demand, company officials said today.

Maker’s Mark is distilled to 45 percent alcohol by volume — or 90 proof — and, after the change, would go down to about 42 percent ABV or 84 proof.

As I joked on Twitter, the geniuses at Maker's Mark are diluting their product in order to ensure that more people have access to a crappier product. This is so remarkably stupid I don't even know where to begin. All I'll say is that we have a tried and true solution to this problem: raise the price! When demand for your product increases and you have no ability to make the same product at the same price point, you raise the price of the product. Then, once your production capabilities have caught up or demand slackens, you lower the price again. You don't damage the brand by making an inferior product.

Either way, this doesn't really effect me. I'm a Weller/Buffalo Trace man, myself. If you can lay hands on it I recommend you check out Old Weller Antique, a 107 proof beauty. It's a better bourbon at a price point below Maker's.

(H/t to Charlie Spiering)