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Amid Social Firestorm, Maker’s Mark Will Not Water Down Whisky

February 19, 2013
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Maker’s Mark drew a storm of complaints when the venerable bourbon distiller announced last week it would be diluting its whisky due to anticipated supply shortages, but today it announced it is scrapping the plan “While we thought we were doing what’s right, this is your brand—and you told us in large numbers to change our decision,” the company said in a statement released today. “You spoke. We listened. And we’re sincerely sorry we let you down.” Effective immediately, the company said, it was reversing its decision to lower the alcohol content of Maker’s Mark...

 

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The Economics of Watering Down Maker's Mark
February 12, 2013 From Slate
Maker's Mark announced in an email to distributors over the weekend that it's going to be decreasing the alcohol content of its bourbon by 3 percent. ... From 45 percent by volume to 42 percent by volume—but it's still a substantial change. The reason is clear enough. Demand for bourbon is skyrocketing internationally, which is great for U.S. bourbon producers, but which also means they're facing strained supplies. The obvious question is, why would it be better to water down your product rather than simply raising prices?
 
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Robert Rose cited several great examples of what not to do: There was Airbnb's disastrous attempt to squelch a blogger who had a bad experience with the apartment rental service and Pampers' refusal to budge on an outmodeled test marketing scheme that upset a host of mommy bloggers. Both of these companies, Rose said, "let the story write them." It's why companies should invest in people who can monitor social conversations around a brand and craft fast, effective responses to negative publicity.
 

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