Uncorkings: Maker’s Mark Reverses Decision to Lower the Alcohol Content in Its Bourbon

Plus more news and notes from the world of wine, spirits and beer.


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After Maker’s Mark said last week that it would lower the amount of alcohol in its Bourbon from 45% to 42% in order to meet consumer demand, the company has reversed its decision, according to Rob Samuels, the company’s chief operating officer. Reports state that the amount of customers who challenged the decision spurred Maker’s Mark to restore its previous alcohol levels.

Napa Valley-based Mira Winery will be the first American winery to conduct an experiment that tests oceanic influence on aging wine. On Wednesday, Feb. 20, divers will place four cases of the winery’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon secured in specially crafted cages on the floor of South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor. The wine will remain submerged for three months. Similar experiments have been tried before: In 2012, a cement-covered barrel of Bordeaux’s 2009 Château Larrivet Haut-Brion was placed in oyster beds of Cap Ferret in the Atlantic Ocean.

Champagne sales slumped 4.4% by volume to just shy of 309 million bottles for the calendar year ending December 2012, compared to the same period in 2011, reported the trade group Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne. The volume decline was linked to a steep drop in European sales: During this period, French shipments were down 5.6% and other European Union shipments outside of France were down 7.1%. France constitutes 56% of global Champagne shipments, and other E.U. countries account for 25%. 

After Constellation Brands Inc. acquired full control of U.S. distribution for Corona beer in a $2.9 million deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, Constellation saw its biggest intraday gain on Feb. 14 in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in more than two decades. The shares surged 37% to 43.75 at the close in New York City. 

Gruppo Campari announced that Campari America would assume the distribution and marketing of the Appleton, Coruba and Wray & Nephew Rum brands beginning March 1. The importing and marketing company Kobrand Corporation is currently handling the brands. Campari Gruppo acquired the brands in December 2012 as part of the company’s purchase of an 81.4% stake of the Jamaican company Lascelles deMercado & Co. Limited.

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