Maker’s Mark Becomes Largest Distillery In The World To Achieve B Corp Certification

Maker’s Mark has been the first (or only) brand to do many things.  Most memorably is probably their red wax-dipped bottle; however, there is a lot going on in Loretto, Kentucky that many enthusiasts might not be aware of.  Jay and I interviewed Jason Nally and Kim Harmon from Maker’s Mark to discuss their environmental projects including the partnership with University of Kentucky in launching the Oak Genome Project.  You can see that entire interview below.  For now, let’s check out the news from Maker’s on becoming the largest distillery in the world to achieve B Corp Certification.

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John H.

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Press Release

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January 26th, 2022

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TheBourbonFinder

Maker’s Mark® Becomes Largest Distillery In The World To Achieve B Corp Certification

With Industry-Leading Environmental and Community Focused Efforts,

Iconic Kentucky Bourbon Joins a Growing Global Movement of Companies Using Business for Good

LORETTO, Ky (January 26, 2022) – Maker’s Mark has earned B Corporation Certification, making it the largest distillery in the world and the first in Kentucky’s famed Bourbon Country to achieve the distinction, which recognizes companies working to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. The B Corp Certification affirms years of industry-leading efforts by Maker’s Mark intended to benefit the greater good and signals a major milestone on the brand’s environmentally conscious mission to “Make Your Mark. Leave No Trace” – now and for the future.

“Since 1953, my grandparents instilled a sense of responsibility here at Maker’s Mark that started with the way we make our bourbon and extended to the way we impact the lives of our teams, our customers, our communities and our shared environment,”

Rob Samuels, Maker’s Mark

“Since 1953, my grandparents instilled a sense of responsibility here at Maker’s Mark that started with the way we make our bourbon and extended to the way we impact the lives of our teams, our customers, our communities and our shared environment,” said Rob Samuels, 8th Generation Whisky Maker and Grandson of the Founders at Maker’s Mark. “That commitment to a higher purpose continues to live on, both here in Kentucky and beyond. I am so proud of our team’s tireless efforts that have earned us B Corp certification, and I’m even more excited to continue pioneering social and environmental initiatives that benefit the future of bourbon and greater good for all.”

Maker’s Mark achieved B Corp Certification by meeting and exceeding rigorous benchmarks across five categories of the B Impact Assessment: Community, Customers, Environment, Governance and Workers. Key efforts recognized as part of the scoring and certification include the following:

  • Maker’s Mark is a spirits industry leader in its environmental practices, implementing innovative programs at its property on Star Hill Farm to preserve the natural resources that go into making its whisky and better the world around it. Initiatives include a distillery-wide zero landfill initiative; an onsite recycling program that is the first in Marion County, Ky. and open to community members;       the establishment of a natural water sanctuary protecting the watershed at Star Hill Farm; and the implementation of a solar array that powers the extensive Maker’s Mark warehouse complex.
  • The bourbon producer is renowned for its community and philanthropic efforts, having invested millions of dollars in the hospitality industry, local Kentucky causes and the arts since its founding more than 65 years ago. In recent years, Maker’s Mark has acted as a principal partner to The LEE Initiative, which aims to address issues of equality and diversity in the restaurant industry.  During the COVID-19 global pandemic, Maker’s Mark and The LEE Initiative have worked together to feed more than 1.5 million hospitality workers in cities across the United States.
  • Maker’s Mark has earned a decades-long reputation as an employer with workplace opportunities that exceed the industry standard. The company offers generous benefits and compensation, including the highest wages in its community; opportunities for advancement, job training and tuition assistance for employees; and six months paid maternity leave.

B Corp Certification is just one step Maker’s Mark is taking to “Make Your Mark. Leave No Trace,” as part of its long-term environmentally-focused mission which couples bold, regenerative actions with comprehensive efforts to leave nothing harmful behind. Beyond the initiatives assessed as part of B Corp Certification, Maker’s Mark has introduced several innovative efforts to create a more sustainable future for the spirits industry, including the establishment of the world’s largest repository of American White Oak trees for research purposes; a first-of-its-kind genome mapping project of the American White Oak species; and regenerative farming practices to enrich soil for more robust and flavorful varieties of grain.

Maker’s Mark joins more than 4,000 Certified B Corporations around the world – including Patagonia, Allbirds,      Burton Snowboards and Sipsmith® Gin – that meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. Aspiring to use the power of business to address social and environmental issues, B Corps become certified through rigorous verification by B Lab and undergo verification every three years. The Certification is designed to help consumers identify companies with a mission that align with their values.

For more information about Maker’s Mark and its efforts for good, visit www.MakersMark.com.

For more information about B Corp visit www.Bcorporation.net.

Final thoughts…

In some ways I see the movement of using bourbon as a means to make a positive impact on our world to be a full circle where distilleries can get back to their roots.  Something of an homage to the pioneers who cultivated the land and, through a combination of ingenuity and necessity to utilize every damn thing they could, created the world of American whiskey.

While Maker’s Mark is the first bourbon brand to receive this accolade, I expect they will not be the last in the industry to earn the nod of environmental approval.  While the movement toward a greener and more sustainable distillery may seem a little new at first blush, it’s really a way of distilleries getting back to their roots.  I’m proud to see brands take these steps and can’t wait for more initiatives like this to take off.  Cheers!

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