Expansion planned at Maker’s Mark distillery

Feb 28, 2014, 12:35 AM

LORETTO, Ky. (AP) – The producers of Maker’s Mark bourbon announced a distillery expansion Thursday to pump up production and keep pace with growing demand for the Kentucky whiskey, known by its distinctive bottles sealed in red wax.

The $67 million expansion comes barely a year after the brand created a backlash by saying it was cutting the amount of alcohol in each bottle to stretch its whiskey supplies. Producers quickly scrapped the idea.

The expansion _ in the works well before the watered-down whiskey flap _ comes amid strong sales across the whiskey sector. Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey revenues rose a projected 10.2 percent last year in the U.S., and exports surpassed $1 billion for the first time, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

Maker’s shipped 1.4 million cases in 2013, up 10.7 percent from the prior year. It forecasts shipments to reach 2 million cases later this decade, after surpassing 1 million cases in 2011.

Bourbon makers in Kentucky, which produces 95 percent of the world’s supply, have invested more than $300 million in expansions in the last two years, said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

In a bow to tradition, the Maker’s addition will replicate the existing distillery in Loretto, a town about 45 miles south of Louisville where every drop of Maker’s has been produced. That continuity ensures “the DNA of Maker’s Mark is preserved as the brand grows,” said Maker’s Mark chief operating officer Rob Samuels, grandson of the brand’s founders.

“This investment is a continuation of the heritage, tradition and vision for this brand as Maker’s Mark continues to grow,” he said.

It’s the second major expansion of the Maker’s distillery. The newest update will add a replica of two existing stills, more fermenters and additional warehouses to store the whiskey. The addition will boost the distillery’s production capacity by 50 percent.

Groundbreaking is planned for next month. The first whiskey coming off the new still will go into barrels for aging in mid-2015 and will mature, on average, between six and seven years before being bottled.

The state said the brand’s producers will be eligible for up to $5 million in tax benefits as part of the project.

“We are very excited that this iconic Kentucky brand continues to grow in popularity,” Gov. Steve Beshear said.

The expansion comes as the ownership of Maker’s is changing hands. Suntory Holdings Ltd., a Japanese beverage company, announced a deal in January to acquire Beam Inc., parent of Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark. The combined company would have annual sales topping $4.3 billion.

The Beam Inc. board approved the project Wednesday.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Following days of rain, floodwaters cover streets in the Planada community of Merced County, Calif....
Associated Press

Atmospheric rivers in California boost water allocation for cities

Public water agencies in California will be getting more water from the state because of recent heavy rain.
18 hours ago
(Brian Munoz/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)...
Associated Press

FDA declines to regulate CBD; calls on Congress for fix

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday there are too many unknowns about CBD products to regulate them as foods or supplements under the agency’s current structure and called on Congress to create new rules for the massive and growing market. The marijuana-derived products have become increasingly popular in lotions, tinctures and foods, while their […]
18 hours ago
FILE - An employee works in the battery assembly hall at the BMW Spartanburg plant in Greer, S.C., ...
Associated Press

US economy slowed but still grew at 2.9% rate last quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.9% annual pace from October through December, ending 2022 with momentum despite the pressure of high interest rates and widespread fears of a looming recession. Thursday’s estimate from the Commerce Department showed that the nation’s gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of economic output — […]
18 hours ago
(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)...
Associated Press

Pope Francis discusses his health, critics and future of papacy

In his first interview since the death of retired Pope Benedict XVI, Francis tells The Associated Press he plans to continue for as long as he can as bishop of Rome
2 days ago
Eric Sham visits a makeshift memorial on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 for those killed in a mass shoot...
Associated Press

US Secret Service releases report on mass attacks

A new report on mass attacks calls for communities to intervene early when they see warning signs of violence.
2 days ago
A bus carrying migrants who crossed the border from Mexico into Texas arrives into the Port Authori...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs keeps migrant transport program, with additions

Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs is defending her decision to continue her Republican predecessor's program to transport migrants out of border communities.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Expansion planned at Maker’s Mark distillery