LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The producer of Maker’s Mark bourbon is cutting – likely permanently – the amount of alcohol in each bottle to stretch every drop of the famous Kentucky whiskey. The alcohol volume is being lowered from its historic level of 45 percent to 42 percent – or 90 proof to 84 proof.
The brand known for its square bottles sealed in red wax has struggled to keep up with demand that more than doubled over the past seven years. Distribution has been squeezed and the popular premium brand has had to curtail shipments to some overseas markets.
“Over the last 100-plus days, there are many, many instances across a lot of different cities where bars, restaurants, package stores have run low, run out,” Rob Samuels, chief operating officer for Maker’s Mark and grandson of the brand’s founder, said Monday.
“Given the surge in demand outstripping supply, what we’ve decided to do very carefully is to slightly reduce the alcohol volume.”
It’s the first time the bourbon brand, more than a half-century old, has altered its proof or alcohol volume.
The lower alcohol volume is seen as permanent and will increase available volume by about 6 percent, Samuels said.
The change was done only after extensive testing showed it didn’t alter the taste of Maker’s Mark, he said.
Romania defends plants accused in meat scandal
BUCHAREST, Romania – A maze of trading between meat wholesalers has made it increasingly difficult to trace the origins of food – enabling horsemeat disguised as beef to be sold in frozen meals across Europe.
Finger-pointing has grown by the day, involving more countries and more companies. On Monday, Romanian officials scrambled to defend two plants implicated in the scandal, saying the meat was properly declared and any fraud was committed elsewhere. France says Romanian butchers and Dutch and Cypriot traders were part of a supply chain that resulted in horsemeat being labeled as beef before it was included in frozen dinners including lasagna, moussaka and the French equivalent of shepherd’s pie.
The affair started earlier this year with worries about horsemeat in burgers in Ireland and Britain.
British grocery chain Tesco said Monday that tests showed some samples of its frozen spaghetti meal contained more than 60 percent horse DNA.
Head of Small Business Administration leaving
NEW YORK – Karen Mills, the head of the Small Business Administration as it focused on helping small companies recover from the recession, is stepping down.
Under her leadership, the SBA brought more than 1,000 community banks to its lending programs and it won a commitment from 13 big banks to increase their lending to small businesses over three years. The agency also regained its status as a Cabinet-level agency with Mills at the helm – a status it had lost during the Bush administration. Mills said she will remain in her position until a successor is appointed by President Barack Obama. Mills has served as SBA administrator since April 2009.
Boeing completes test flights of 787
Boeing conducted a second test flight of its 787 on Monday as it looks for the cause of battery problems that have grounded the planes. It said no more tests are currently planned.
Boeing said Monday’s flight lasted one hour and 29 minutes and was uneventful. Flight-tracking service FlightAware showed that the plane flew from Boeing Field in Seattle, east over Washington state, and back.
Federal officials grounded the 787 on Jan. 16 because of battery problems that caused one fire and forced another plane to make an emergency landing.