Photo: jcarbaugh on Flickr
Maker’s Mark sparked a big bourbon controversy when it decided to lower the amount of alcohol in liquor.Loyal customers spoke out and Maker’s Mark ended up reversing the decision quickly.
Geoffrey Kleinman at Drink Spirits spoke with Maker’s Mark COO Rob Samuels and his father, chairman Bill Samuels, Jr., about what happened.
The pair talked about the moment when they realised they had totally screwed up.
“It was quickly,” Rob explained to Drink Spirits. “After a day or two.”
“Yeah, we came into the office Monday thinking that all our friends would accept our rationale for messing around with our whiskey and found that we were like a little bit wrong,” said Bill.
“It takes a little while to get your head wrapped around that because our feelings were hurt and our ego was hurt. Then we actually started listening, and the folks were all saying essentially the same thing, and in reflection it made a lot of sense.”
Ego is a major factor when it comes to reversing corporate decisions. Sometimes, a company will stick with a decision simply because execs think they know better than their customers and it ends up backfiring spectacularly.
This wasn’t the case at Maker’s and the folks at the top aren’t hesitating to admit that the plan was boneheaded.
“We got the picture quickly and we are not quite as stupid as we were at this time last week,” Bill told Forbes.
It wasn’t easy to get over the crushing blow, but they recovered, and it looks like this is going to be a win for Maker’s Mark.
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