Maker's Mark Bourbon Miniature 50 MLMakers Mark is a small-batch bourbon whisky that is distilled in Loretto, Kentucky, by Beam Inc. It is sold in distinctively squarish bottles, which are sealed with red wax, and bottled at 90 U.S. proof (45% alcohol by volume). The distillery offers tours, and is part of the American Whiskey Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.Production of Maker's Mark started in 1954, after its originator, T. William "Bill" Samuels Sr., purchased the distillery known as "Burks' Distillery" in Loretto, Kentucky for $35,000.The first bottle of Maker's Mark was bottled in 1958 and featured the brand's distinctive dipped red wax seal. Maker's Mark holds a U.S. trademark (serial number 73526578) on the wax seal of their bottles.In the 1960s and 1970s, Maker's Mark was widely marketed with the tag line, "It tastes expensive ... and is."The 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 the landmark buildings were in active use for distilling.Maker's Mark was sold to Hiram Walker & Sons in 1981, which sold it to distillery giant Allied Domecq in 1987, which in turn sold it to Deerfield, Illinois-based Fortune Brands in 2005. In 2011 Fortune Brands split; its drinks business became Beam Inc.After the brand's creation by Bill Samuels Sr., its production was overseen by his son Bill Samuels Jr. until 2011 when he announced his retirement as president and CEO of Maker's Mark at the age of 70. His son Rob Samuels succeeded him in April 2011.On February 9, 2013 the company sent a mass e-mail announcing a plan to reduce the alcohol strength of the whisky “ citing supply issues as the reason for the change. The result of this change would have been to reduce the product to 84 U.S. proof (42% alcohol by volume). On February 17, 2013 the company said that it had reconsidered its decision after receiving a strong negative reaction from customers, and that it will continue to bottle at the original strength. Some overseas markets like Australia will continue to sell the whisky at 40%.Maker's Mark is aged for around 5.75 to 6.5 years, being bottled and marketed when the company's 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 even out the differences in temperature during the process. The upper floors are exposed to the greatest temperature variations during the year, so rotating the barrels ensures that the bourbon in all the barrels have the same quality and taste.Maker's Mark is sold in squarish bottles which are sealed with red wax. T. William Samuels' wife, Marjorie "Margie" Samuels, gave the whisky 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. Three varieties are marketed; the original, a mint julep flavor with green wax on the neck released seasonally in limited amounts, and 46, a variety flavored by introducing seared French oak staves into the traditional charred white oak barrel toward the end of its aging. The original has been bottled at 90 U.S. proof (45% alcohol by volume).Maker's Mark is unusual in that no rye is used as part of the mash. Instead red winter wheat is used, along with corn (the predominant grain) and malted barley. During the planning phase of Maker's Mark, Samuels allegedly developed seven candidate mash bills for the new bourbon. As he did not have time to distill and age each one for tasting, he instead made a loaf of bread from each recipe and the one with no rye was judged the best tasting. Samuels also received considerable assistance and recipes from Stitzel-Weller owner Pappy Van Winkle, whose distillery produced the wheated Old Fitzgerald and W. L. Weller bourbons.Maker's Mark is marketed as a small batch Bourbon. Most producers of so-called small batch Bourbons do not clarify exactly what they mean by the term. The producer of Maker's Mark says that the traditional definition is "A bourbon that is produced/distilled in small quantities of approximately 1,000 gallons or less (20 barrels) from a mash bill of around 200 bushels of grain".Maker's Mark is one of the few American-made whiskies to be labeled using the Scottish spelling "whisky". The majority of American distillers and the American general public tend to spell the word with the "e", although some brands (such as George Dickel and Old Forester) also use the spelling "whisky".