Now, I’m not talking about how this is a huge brand making lots of money that people will ask for by name and, at times, even when presented by a literal wall of other (and mostly craft) whisk(e)ys, will provoke some to sharply refuse any other whisk(e)y and leave the bar. After all, this is a blog aimed at sustainability, remember?
So immediately stepping off of my Maker’s-is-Overrated bias is this post, where I glorify all of the beautiful things I’ve recently learned Mark does for our planet. And those are, actually, a lot of things, multiplied in fact by the sheer size of the company. I will not say that I like the taste of Maker’s any more than I never did, but I sure as hell will buy it in lieu of companies not giving any fucks. Here goes:
- While sourcing malted barley from Wisconsin and Minnesota, Maker’s Mark locally sources all of its corn and wheat. And by this I don’t mean somewhere in, like, a 300 mile range, maybe, but within a 30 mile radius. 30 miles, period. When you’re producing over 1.4 million cases a year, that’s a hell of a lot of grain kept within 30 miles. (Maker’s is in rural Kentucky, so it’s legitimately surrounded almost exclusively by its employees and suppliers.)
- The majority of the the land Maker’s Mark owns is a nature preserve. Only 200 of 620 acres are used for the Distillery.
- Maker’s recycles or generates renewable energy with its byproducts, saving up to 30% of its natural gas consumption annually. It’s the only (eight million dollar) distillery in North America with such advanced sustainability systems in place.
- They never use GMO grains. I know, Genetically Modified Organisms is a touchy subject. But environmentally speaking, because GMOs are currently still quite hard to understand long-term-impact-wise, this is the safe route.
Of course, we’ve been over the shipping aspect that’s the largest factor in alcohol’s unsustainable nuisancery, which makes Maker’s look behind the times. (Those bottles are heavy, and that wax superfluous. What are we, in the Middle Ages? I get that it’s – legally – your thing but no one likes dealing with that waxy shit on various knives/bottle openers/countertops). That being said, one can’t help commend them for their advanced strides in other areas, ones that will set the precedent for what “green” can look like in the beverage world.