Maker’s Mark Bourbon MD Rob Samuels on whiskey sustainability & more: S12E12

Maker's Mark Bourbon managing director Rob Samuels

Maker’s Mark Bourbon in February 2022 became the first distillery in Kentucky and the largest distillery in the world to achieve B Corp certification.

If you’re not yet familiar with B Corp, it’s a certification program that measures a company’s entire social and environmental impact.

There are now more than 4000 Certified B Corporations around the world, several of which we’ve featured on this podcast: B Corp brewery Stone & Wood, plus B Corp winery Unico Zelo and B Corp distillery Sipsmith Gin.

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And in this special episode of the Drinks Adventures podcast – produced with the support of Maker’s Mark – you’re going to hear about some of the environmental initiatives it’s undertaken to safeguard the future of bourbon, which of course is ultimately an agricultural product.

We’re joined this episode by Rob Samuels, an eighth generation whiskey maker and the grandson of Maker’s Mark founder, Bill Samuels Senior.

Also with us is Trent Chapman, marketing director Oceania for Beam Suntory, owner of Maker’s Mark Bourbon.

Later on in the interview, we cover the ingredients and production practices that underpin the Maker’s Mark style, and the evolution of the bourbon industry in Kentucky, where ten new distilleries opened in 2021.

The B-Corp milestone comes as Maker’s Mark continues its rapid growth in markets such as Australia.

The distillery released a new expression, Maker’s 46, in 2010. But the international growth has largely been driven by classic Maker’s, which for almost 60 years was the only whiskey it produced.

I asked Rob first up about the significance of this singular focus by Maker’s, at a time when many of its peers are seemingly bringing out new whiskies every other week.

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