Kentucky Straight BourbonWhisky
Maker's Mark Distillery
3350 Burks Spring Road
Loretto, Kentucky 40037 USA
Telephone: (270) 865-2099
Viewer's Comments about Maker's Mark
level of craftmanship that Bill Samuels, Sr. started over
50 years ago is still practiced at Maker's Mark Distillery
today. This process is who they are. Bill Samuels, Sr. bought
the 200 acre site in 1953 ~ ten years after he went out
on his own to create a distinguished style of bourbon whisky.
In 1974, the Distillery was listed on the National Register
of Historic Places and in 1980, it was declared a National
Historic Landmark. The Maker's Mark Distillery is also recognized
by the Guinness Book of World Records as the 'World's
Oldest Continuously Operating Bourbon Whisky Distillery'.
Maker's Mark Historic Timeline
1840 T.W. Samuels It wasn’t until 1840 that
the Samuels family got serious about whisky distilling.
And that’s when Robert’s grandson, T.W. Samuels,
built the family’s first commercial distillery at
Samuels Depot, Kentucky. He was known as the "High"
Sheriff of Nelson County. The "secret" family
recipe was passed from generation to generation, six to
1865 When the Civil War was supposedly
over, William Clark Quantrill's band of Confederate irregulars,
including Jesse and Frank James, had other ideas. They continued
to attack Union sympathizers throughout central Kentucky.
Eventually, Quantrill was shot and his irregulars were chased
to the hamlet of Samuels, KY, and took refuge at the home
of T.W. Samuels, Jesse and Frank's stepfather.
1920 The 1920s brought American Prohibition
and distilleries were shut down. Luckily for us, Prohibition
ended in 1934.
1943 Bill Samuels, Sr. decided to create
a distinguished style of bourbon whisky. So he left the
T.W. Samuels Distillery and began his new venture by burning
the 170-year-old family recipe.
1951 Bill Samuels, Sr. developed a new
recipe based on locally grown maize (corn) and malted barley
coupled with gentle winter wheat – not the traditional
and harsher grain, rye. Funny enough, he did this without
a distillery. He baked bread in the family kitchen, experimenting
with different grains to come to this conclusion.
1952 Marge Samuels (wife of Bill, Sr.),
designed the bottle and named the whisky. As a fine pewter
collector, she had always searched for “the mark of
the maker.” She was also a collector of bottles of
cognac, many of which were sealed in colorful wax. It was
these two things that lent themselves to the Maker’s
Mark packaging still used today.
1953 Bill Samuels, Sr. purchased the 200
1958 The first bottle of Maker's Mark was
dipped, sealed and introduced at $7 a bottle.
1965 The first outdoor billboard appeared.
1968 The first magazine ad.
1975 The first newspaper ad.
1975 Bill Samuels, Jr. became the president
and CEO of Maker's Mark.
1980 The Maker’s Mark distillery
in Loretto, KY was declared a National Historic Landmark
by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Cecil Andrus.
1980 In August of 1980, The Wall Street
Journal published a front page article about Maker’s
Mark - its distinctive and gentle taste – and how
this undiscovered secret was produced in the little town
of Loretto, KY. Letters started coming in to Maker’s
Mark by the thousands.
1981 In early 1981, so many letters were
received asking where to find Maker’s Mark that an
ad was placed in The Wall Street Journal thanking
consumers for their interest and sending them to their retailers
to order Makers Mark.
1981 From 1981 to 1995, an ad campaign
was developed based on letters and stories from faithful
consumers. The style was “letter writing” with
a sense of humor which would, hopefully, bring a smile to
1993 The ad campaign took on a new look and feel.
1997 The “letter writing”
style of advertising returned. After receiving letters from
consumers about how much they liked the “old”
advertising, new ads were created in that style once again.
1999 Maker's Mark Distillery is recognized
by the Guiness Book of World Records as 'The World’s
Oldest Operating Bourbon Whiskey Distillery'.
2000 Due to the increased popularity of
Maker’s Mark, the distillery was forced to expand
in 2000 and 2001, duplicating, in exact detail, the distillery
as it had been restored in the ‘60s. This doubled
our capacity to make whisky.
Spring Fed Lake We believe Maker's Mark
is the only bourbon distillery to use pure, iron-free limestone
spring water exclusively, not city, well or river water.
Our source is a 10-acre limestone spring-fed lake at the
Grains We are very choosy about selecting
the grains that go into our whisky. First, we use yellow
corn and red winter wheat from specially selected small
farm cooperatives, all of which are located within the limestone
geology near the distillery. This wheat gives our whisky
its soft, mellow taste. And we only use naturally malted
barley (that has no enzyme enhancing gibberellic acid).When
our grain is delivered, we check it from top to bottom.
If it does not meet our rigid standards the shipment is
not accepted. And this really does happen from time to time.
The Rollermill We use an old fashioned
rollermill to prepare our grain for cooking. While some
distillers think this method is too slow and produces a
lower yield, it’s just fine for us. The slow process
does not scorch the grain like a hammermill can. Scorching
may result in a slightly bitter taste.
Cooking Unlike some other distillers, we
never pressure cook our grain. Any good distiller, or baker,
can tell you that pressure cookers and high-quality soft
winter wheat do not mix. By using an open cooker and a slower
process that involves a lot of hands-on attention, we extend
the subtle grain flavors into our whisky.
The Yeast We are among the few remaining
bourbon distillers that propagates its own yeast for fermentation
with cultures that we can trace back to the pre-prohibition
era. We also use the traditional sour mash method, similar
to making sourdough bread, where we always leave over some
culture from one batch to start another.
Fermentation Our rare cypress fermentation
tanks are historically irreplaceable. Some of the planks
are more than 100 years old. Cypress was chosen for fermentation
before modern stainless steel was available because it didn’t
contribute iron or taste to the final product. While we
don’t believe that cypress affects the process in
any way, we continue to use some of these fermenters to
give our visitors a sense of how the process used to look.
Maker’s Mark is currently the only operating bourbon
distillery to make whisky in batches of less than 19 barrels
-- the traditional standard for small-batch whisky.
Dog Maker’s Mark double distills its whisky
-- once in an all
copper column still to produce what we call low wine, and
again in a copper pot still to produce high wine. This added
step removes impurities and produces a more refined sipping
whisky. Our low wine is distilled off at 120 proof, while
our high wine is 130 proof. We believe that this is the
lowest distillation proof in the industry. We continue this
more expensive practice because it preserves our mellow
Courtesy of Maker's Mark
MAKER'S MARK KENTUCKY
STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKY
Rich and brilliant - see-through amber, but with
a flame orange glint that tells of the warmth to
yet delicate; well-rounded; possessing a distinctive
caramel aroma of the charred oak with a hint of
vanilla; pleasant and inviting.
Flavor: Rich in
flavor, yet soft on the palate. Distinctive and
complex, yet possess the refinement and balance
found in a finely-crafted malt or cognac. Refreshing
crisp and smooth. Refined and delicate, yet interesting
and expressive. It leaves a satisfying sensation
of warmth - a mild glow that slides ever so gently
Maker's Mark Master
They say seeing is believing. If you're ever out in our
neck of the woods, stop by the Maker's Mark Distillery to
see your whisky being made in person. There's nothing like
Monday - Saturday: Every hour on the half-hour from 10:30
a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Sundays - We conduct tours at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.,
March through December.
All times are Eastern Time. We're closed on Sundays in January
The distillery is open on holidays except for Easter Sunday,
Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's
You must be 21 or older to dip your own bottle.
MAKER'S MARK DISTILLERY TOUR
Old Gristmill Maker’s Mark is the
only operating distillery in America to be designated a
National Historic Landmark. Do we sound proud or what? Originally
built in 1805 as a gristmill distillery, it became the home
of Maker’s Mark in 1953. Today, it is the oldest operating
distillery on its original site.
Master's Distiller's House Built in the
1840s, this building was originally the Master Distiller's
House. It wasn't until the invention of refrigeration in
the 1920s that he was able to live away from the distillery.
In the late 1980s, we added on to the house to create the
Visitor Center. Inside you'll find a gallery full of great
things: gifts, folk art, and mementos. But no Master Distiller.
The Toll House The Toll House just off
our front drive is a permanent reminder of when fees were
levied for use of roads nearly a century ago. Don't worry.
Today you can tour our distillery absolutely free.
Fire Department What little boy didn't
dream of becoming a fireman? Well, we can play fireman anytime
we want, because we have our own antique fire engine stored
on the property. In addition to being handy in an emergency,
it adds to our distillery's distinctive charm.
The Still House Funny how something with
the word "still" in it can be such a hotbed of
activity. The Still House is the heart and soul of Maker's
Mark. From our antique roller mill crushing the grain to
the giant cypress tubs full of sour mash to the "white
dog" (new whisky) running through the "spirit
safe," this is where you can see Maker's Mark being
made by hand every step of the way. The building, or at
least the foundation, dates back to 1805 when it used to
be a gristmill.
Fermenting Room This is where the sour
mash ferments, producing the alcohol that will eventually
become bourbon. These 12 foot deep cypress vats hold about
9,300 gallons of sour mash. Some of the cypress staves are
over 100 years old. Traditionally, vats were made of cypress
because the iron in steel would ruin bourbon, stainless
steel hadn't been invented yet, and copper and ceramic were
too expensive. The stuff is unbelievably tough, as anyone
who has ever tried to repair one of these vats can tell
you. Cypress, which grows in the swamps of Florida and Louisiana,
is the best wood to use because it is naturally water-resistant
and doesn't rot like other woods.
Barrel Warehouse Shhh. The whisky is sleeping.
This is just one of the warehouses that dot the landscape
around our distillery. The two warehouses shown on this
tour date back to either the late 1800s or early 1900s and
each holds around 4000 barrels. The other warehouses hold
15,000-20,000 barrels. After we fill the barrels, they're
stored inside warehouses like this one so nature can work
its magic while the whisky slumbers.
Directions to the Maker's Mark Distillery
Directions from Lexington
Take the Bluegrass Parkway West to Springfield, exit#42.
Make a left onto Hwy. 555 South, into Springfield. At intersection
of 555 and 150, turn right onto 150 West for approx. 2 miles.
Turn left onto Hwy. 152 West, to Hwy 49 South. Continue
ahead on 49 South into Loretto. At stoplight turn left onto
Hwy. 52 East for approx. 3 miles. At the end of Burks Spring
Road you will see our sign, You have just found the home
of Makers Mark. Approximately 1 12 hours driving time.
Directions from Louisville
Take I-65 South from Louisville to exit #112, Clermont/Bernheim
Forest exit. At ramp turn left onto Hwy. 245 South to Bardstown.
Take Hwy. 245 to intersection of Hwy. 62, turning right
and continue on Hwy. 62 east for approx. 2 miles. Hwy. 62
runs into Hwy. 150 where you will turn left and continue
approx. 2 miles and past My Old Kentucky Home State Park.
At intersection of Hwy. 150 and 49, turn right onto Hwy.
49 South and follow the brown historical landmark signs
to Holy Cross, which will direct you to go straight on Hwy.
527 South. Follow Hwy. 527 to St. Francis (5 miles), where
you will turn left onto Hwy. 52 East into Loretto. Continue
on through Loretto for approx. 3 miles, at the end of Burks
Spring Road you will see our sign, You have just found the
home of Makers Mark. Approximately 1 and a 1/2 hours driving
Directions from Nashville
Take I-65 North to Elizabethtown to the Bluegrass Parkway
East. Continue on the BG to Bardstown exit #21. Turn left
at exit onto Hwy. 31-E North to Bardstown. This will join
Hwy. 62 in front of St. Joseph Cathedral. Go right to courthouse
and continue 12 round where you will join Hwy. 150 East.
Continue past My Old Kentucky Home State Park, to Hwy. 49
South to Holy Cross, take Hwy. 527 to St. Francis, turn
left onto Hwy. 52 East through Loretto, (approx. 3 miles)
to Burks Spring Road. You will see our sign You have just
found the home of Makers Mark. Approximately 3 12 hours
driving time, you will also go through a time change. Nashville
is on Central Time, we are on Eastern Time, 1 hour ahead.
Contact Us For More Information
Visitors' Center at Maker's Mark Distillery
3350 Burks Spring Road
Loretto, Kentucky 40037
Telephone: (270) 865-2099
Courtesy of Maker's Mark