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News Alert: Maker’s Mark In Transition As Distillery Veterans Potter And Bowie Depart

August 30, 2022

Beam Suntory-owned Maker’s Mark will be under new leadership at the distillery level looking ahead, as company veterans Denny Potter and Jane Bowie will be leaving as of this Friday, SND has learned.

Potter is general manager and master distiller of Maker’s Mark, having first joined the brand in 2003. After transitioning to other roles at Beam Suntory and later Heaven Hill Brands, he returned to Maker’s in 2018, and has since then helmed the distillery. Bowie is a 16-year Maker’s Mark veteran who ascended to become director of innovation, overseeing all liquid formulation and blending for the portfolio.

Maker’s Mark is the largest super-premium ($25-plus) Bourbon brand in the U.S., according to Impact Databank, and it grew substantially last year, up 16% to 2.3 million cases, posting the largest growth rate of any million-case brand in the American whiskey category.

Maker’s Mark COO Rob Samuels told SND that an announcement on filling the roles left by Potter and Bowie will be made in due course. “Just like the Bourbon, we’re not going to rush it. While Denny and Jane are transitioning at the end of the week, they will always be part of the Maker’s Mark family,” he said. “That’s something we’re all very proud of—the culture and the commitment to the vision of growing with purpose and continuing forward in a way that keeps our brand true to who it is.” Samuels added that earlier this year Maker’s Mark became the first B Corp-certified distillery in Kentucky.

Asked whether it could be more difficult to cultivate and retain talent moving forward in an era when whiskey distillers are in heavy demand and receiving attractive offers from a range of deep-pocketed players, Samuels said, “I think it’s hard to say. Here we are 70 years after the founding of Maker’s Mark, and there’s never been more energy and growth in the category, yet this is the strongest team we’ve ever had in the history of our brand top to bottom. And our team is our number-one priority. We’ll be able to move forward in a way where we have incredibly committed leadership.”—Daniel Marsteller

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