LORETTO, Ky. — The producers of Maker’s Mark bourbon announced a distillery expansion Thursday to pump up production and keep pace with growing demand for the Kentucky whiskey, known by its distinctive bottles sealed in red wax.
The $67 million expansion comes barely a year after the brand created a backlash by saying it was cutting the amount of alcohol in each bottle to stretch its whiskey supplies. Producers quickly scrapped the idea.
The expansion — in the works well before the watered-down whiskey flap — comes amid strong sales across the whiskey sector. Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey revenues rose a projected 10.2 percent last year in the U.S., and exports surpassed $1 billion for the first time, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. Bourbon makers in Kentucky, which produces 95 percent of the world’s supply, have invested more than $300 million in expansions in the last two years.