Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Legacy of Makers Mark

Most folks these days know the most popular spirit in America is Vodka. This has been the case since the early 70's. Not suprisingly... the popular rise of the Dear Little Water happens to mimmick the feminization of the country... but that's a topic for another post.

But prior to Vodka's rise... Bourbon was the king of the mountain. Walk into a package store in 1950 and you'd find dozens more labels than are available today... and it seemed like everyone that walked in the door was after the same thing.

I'll tell you something you might not know though. If you were to taste all of those labels you'd learn one thing. Back then... bourbon pretty much all tasted the same. The variety was purely the result of marketing. And not just that... but if you taste some Evan Williams today... you'd know what virtually everything tasted like back then.

See... the Super Premium Bourbon Market which has led to the surge in popularity hadn't been invented yet... but the interesting thing is... the ground work for bourbon's revival was actually laid before its fall. A fella named Bill Samuels realized that different parts of the warehouse aged bourbon differently... so he began rotating his barrells. It was labor intensive... and was, at the time, mocked as a gimmick. But that rotation... along with careful experimentation with the recipe resulted in the first Super Premium bourbon.

Of course... now everyone from Jim Beam to Jack Daniels rotates their barrels. And they all offer Super Premium products.

See boys.. Bourbon's Golden Age... really wasn't. Bourbon's Golden Age is now. So when you sip your Knob Creek or Rare Breed... say a little word of thanks to Bill Samuels. Because if it wasn't for him and his work at Makers Mark you wouldn't have either.

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