All Distilleries

  Scotch Single Malt    
  Irish Whiskey    
  US Whiskey    
  Blended Whisky    
  Vatted Whisky    
  Independent Bottlers    
  Whisky Production    
  Whisky History    
  Tasting Notes    
  Selected Whisky    
  Online Shopping    
  Whisky News    


Makers Mark Distillery

American Whiskey


Maker’s Mark was founded in 1840 by T.W. Samuels, in Nelson County, Kentucky. Records suggest a distillery and mill might have existed on the site earlier, but the official year remains 1840. The small distillery initially used a family recipe which was used for six generations. The distillery suffered under American Prohibition and was closed for a time. When the ban was lifted Bill Samuels Sr. decided to reopen the distillery and relocate it to Loretto, Kentucky. He also decided to make a new kind of bourbon and thus re-equipped the distillery accordingly. The new bourbon was based on maize (corn), barley and winter wheat.

Bill's wife Marge was given the honor to name the new whisky and also to design the bottle. She quickly came up with Maker's Mark which was a tribute to the distiller’s (maker’s) contribution (mark) to the character of the whisky. Marge was a collector of Cognac bottles, which probably influenced her into choosing a rounder-shaped bottle than what was usually used. Maker’s Mark also had the top of its neck dipped in wax like many cognac bottles.

The new distillery was inaugurated in 1958. The new Maker's Mark with its classic red wax top was priced at $7. The whiskey quickly became popular and the company soon begun putting ads into magazines and newspapers. In 1975 Bill Samuels’ son, Bill Samuels JR, took over from his father. Five years later, in 1980, the distillery was declared a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

Apart from being declared an historic landmark, Maker’s Mark received further PR in 1980 when an article was published in The Wall Street Journal. The article very positively described the whisky and its “…distinctive and gentle taste”. The response from the public was strong; thousands of letters came in to The Wall Street Journal asking where Maker’s Mark could be purchased. The interest was so great that an ad was placed in The Wall Street Journal thanking the readers for their interest in the whisky and informing them of which retailers to visit in order to purchase a bottle of Maker’s Mark. The increasing interest for the whiskey inspired Maker’s Mark to become one of the first Bourbon distilleries to open a visitor centre (1980). The positive development continued and the capacity of the distillery was doubled in 2000 due to increased demand. Today the company employs 70 people.

Maker’s Mark has always cared for the traditional workmanship connected to whisky production. As a result, the distillery is still quite small in spite of its popularity.


A Selection of Makers Mark

Online Shops

Makers Mark







Makers Mark


Makers Mark Black


Short Fact: The oldest Bourbon distillery in the world on its original site.


Character: Full-bodied with rich flavor. Lots of oak, vanilla and fruit.


* Buy Makers Mark online at Thewhiskyexchange >>


* Buy whisky online at Internet Wines & Spirits (US customers) >>


Production at Makers Mark


The water which is drawn from an on-site spring has flowed through limestone and is clear and free of iron and other unwanted substances. The cereals used are maize (71%), winter wheat (16%) and barley (14%). The distillery claims the winter wheat is a very important factor in creating the special Maker’s Mark taste.

The mash is heated in an open ‘cooker’. The process is much slower than in most other distilleries in the United States and extends the grain flavors into the whiskey. Each mashing yields 18 2/3 barrels of raw spirit, which allows Maker’s Mark to call themselves a ‘small-batch’ whiskey distillery (the limit is 19 barrels).

The distillery uses 41 open cypress fermentation tanks. The staves in the fermentation tanks are replaced individually and the oldest remaining are over 100 years old. Each fermentation tank holds more than 40,000 liters (9,300 gallons). Maker’s Mark use the traditional sour mash method, where some culture is always left over from one batch to start another.

Maker’s Mark is double-distilled; first in a copper column still, and then in a traditional copper pot still which holds approximately 20,000 liters (4,600 gallons). Maker’s Mark second run has the lowest alcohol content of all bourbon distilleries (130 proof).

The barrels are freshly charred white oak barrels. Maker’s Mark uses four different warehouse areas in three states. Each warehouse holds 20,000 barrels, adding up to a current total of 250,000 barrels in storage. Bottling is done on site, which includes the classic red wax seal. The annual production in 2005 is 600,000 boxes, or 3.6 million bottles of Maker’s Mark. Considering the success in recent years, the goal is to reach one million boxes before 2010.


Contact Makers Mark


Maker's Mark Distillery, Inc. 3350 Burks Spring Road. Loretto, KY 40037

Show on map +local weather(Multimap) >>


Phone: +1 502 865-2099


Production Manager:
Kevin Smith

  About 60.000 people visit Maker’s Mark every year. Those who make the trip experience one of the best tours in the US with insights into the entire whisky making process. Admission is free.

Maker's Mark Official Hompage >>

Did you find this text particularly interesting? Is there something you miss? Do you wish to read more about some other topic, a particular distillery, whiskey or whisky? Drop us a line! We at The Whisky Guide always strive to improve our service, and we welcome your thoughts and comments.

Tell a friend about >>


Send a Comment to us at >>    

© Copyright 2005, Chill Communications, all rights reserved.





  All Distilleries    

All the facts you need about distilleries in Scotland and from across the world! History, production, whiskies, how to visit etc.

Distillery List >>

  Whisky Forum    

Discuss the latest news and releases in the Whisky Forum. Read other members' travel tips or give them yours. The more we use the forum, the better it will be!

Whisky Forum >>

  Online Whisky Shops    

Want to shop for whisky online? A good place to start is The Whisky Guide's links to online whiskey shopping.

Online shopping >>

  Selected Whisky!    

Recommended whisky by The Whisky Guide!

Selected Whisky >>

  Whisky Poll    

What do YOU think? Take part in our polls at The Whisky Guide. We publish the results of our polls regularly here on the site and in our newsletters.

Whisky Poll >>


Subscribe to The Whisky Guide's Newsletter and receive news, articles, recommended whisky and updates directly to your mailbox!

Newsletter >>

  Whisky Travel    

Are you planning a whiskey trip? Be sure to scan our travel section before you leave!

Travel >>