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Maker's Mark to restore alcohol content

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- After a backlash from customers, the producer of Maker's Mark bourbon is reversing a decision to cut the amount of alcohol in bottles of its whiskey.

Rob Samuels, Maker's Mark's chief operating officer, said yesterday it is restoring the alcohol volume of its product to its historic level of 45 percent, or 90 proof. It had said last week the amount was being lowered to 42 percent, or 84 proof, because of a supply shortage. "We've been tremendously humbled over the last week or so," Samuels, grandson of the brand's founder, said.

In a tweet yesterday, the company said: "You spoke. We listened." Company officials said much customer feedback came from Twitter and Facebook. The statement on the brand's Facebook page drew more than 14,000 "likes" and 2,200 comments within two hours.

The brand, known for its square bottles sealed with red wax, has struggled to keep up with demand. Distribution has been squeezed, and the brand had to curtail some overseas shipments were curtailed. The change in recipe started with a shortage of the bourbon amid an expansion of the company's operations that is costing tens of millions of dollars. -- AP

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