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Maker’s Mark is a handcrafted, small-batch bourbon whisky distilled in Loretto, Kentuckymarker. It is sold in unusually-shaped squarish bottles, which are sealed with red wax. The distillery is located near Loretto, Kentuckymarker. It offers tours, and is part of the American Whiskey Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.


When the T.W. Samuels family of distilling sold their distillery and their trademarks in the 1950s, Bill Samuels Sr. searched for a small distillery to purchase and continue the trade on a smaller scale, emphasizing quality over volume of production. He chose an older distillery in Loretto, Kentucky that had not been operational for several years but was the right size for his proposed operation.

T.W. (Bill) Samuels Sr. decided to come up with a new recipe for his bourbon in order to make it smoother, but since the aging process for bourbon takes years, could not take the time involved actually to distill and age many batches of bourbon of varying ingredients. His unique solution to this problem was to bake loaves of bread containing the exact proportion of the grain contents of each proposed recipe. The one judged to be the best-tasting was adopted for his new Bourbon. The one selected contained no rye whatsoever, which was replaced by more barley and red winter wheat. Accordingly, in 1953, Bill Samuels Sr., a sixth generation Kentucky distiller, burned his family's 170-year-old bourbon recipe. The first bottle of Maker's Mark was bottled in 1958 and featured the dipped red wax seal. Maker's Mark holds a U.S. trademark (serial number 73526578) on the wax seal of their bottles. What makes Maker's Mark unique is the "tendrils", or drip marks, on their seal.

The "Quart House" on the distillery grounds.
Customers could refill their quart bottles here.

The Loretto, Kentucky distillery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 31, 1974, and designated a National Historic Landmark on December 16, 1980, listed as "Burks' Distillery". It was the first distillery in America to be so recognized where landmark buildings were actively used for distilling. Today, Maker's Mark is owned by Deerfield, Illinoismarker-based Fortune Brands, which acquired it from distillery giant UKmarker-based Allied Domecq in 2005 in a joint bid with Frenchmarker rival Pernod Ricard. Maker's Mark has a cult status amongst some bourbon whiskey enthusiasts. For years it was marketed with the tag line, "It tastes expensive ... and is."


The production line at the Maker's Mark distillery.
Maker's Mark is aged for around 6 to 7 1/2 years, being bottled and marketed when expert tasters agree that it is ready. Maker's Mark is one of the few distillers to rotate the barrels from the upper to the lower levels of the aging warehouses during the aging process to benefit from the differences in temperature during the process.

Maker's Mark is sold in squarish bottles, which are sealed with red wax. T. William Samuels' wife, Marjorie "Margie" Samuels, gave the whiskey its name, drew its label, and thought up the wax dipping that gives the bottle its distinctive look. It was introduced to the market in 1959. In the United Statesmarker, only one variety is marketed, bottled at 90 U.S. proof (45% alcohol by volume). Maker's Mark is one of the few American made whiskeys to be spelled in the Scottish form, "whisky," as opposed to "whiskey." Technically, in United States law, the official American spelling is "whisky"; however, the historic American spelling of "whiskey" is tolerated, and the vast majority of American distillers spell the word with the "e". The few American distillers who use the spelling without an "e", such as Maker's Mark, tend to have a Scottish heritage.

Bourbon House & Lounge

Maker's Mark Bourbon House and Lounge in Fourth Street Live!, Louisville.
In addition to the distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, there is also a restaurant located in the Fourth Street Live!marker entertainment complex in downtown Louisville, Kentuckymarker. The lounge opened in October 2004 with the grand opening of the Fourth Street Live! complex. It is decorated with backlit Maker's Mark bottles and the traditional Maker's Mark "wax" dripping from the ceiling. While the lounge focuses on Maker's Mark, it also features other bourbons from each of Kentuckymarker's distilleries. The menu was designed by Chef Al Paris of the famous Zanzibar Blue restaurant in Philadelphiamarker. In May, 2008, a Maker's Mark Bourbon House & Lounge opened in Kansas City, Missouri's downtown Power & Light District. In March, 2009, the third Maker's Mark Bourbon House & Lounge opened at the Indiana Live Casino in Shelbyville Indiana just outside Indianapolismarker. Maker's Mark Indianapolis features 200 wines by the bottle and 20 offerings by the glass, it also features a bourbon list with 63 varieties.


  1. Makers Mark History

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