Bourbon whiskey is an agricultural product. In its simplest form it’s made from water, grain, yeast, and wood. Simple yet oh so complicated.
In the case of Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky its limestone rich water comes from its own 1,300-acre watershed. Its corn and red winter wheat come from farms within a 35-mile radius. Its malted barley comes from a bit further away, but they are working on that. Its yeast is the same strain that’s been in the family for generations. And its charred oak barrels come from logs that were harvested, air-dried, milled, assembled, and charred within a few hundred miles of the distillery. After distillation and barreling the rest is up to Mother Nature and Father Time to do their part for the next 5-7 years.
Maker’s Mark Fills 1st Barrel of Bourbon with Certified Regenified Corn and Wheat
When it comes to distillers, they don’t like change. When you think about it, any little tweak can have serious implications. Unlike a baker that tweaks a recipe for a loaf of bread, the baker will know in a few hours if their new recipe is a success or not. In the case of bourbon making, they won’t totally know if the changes they make today will turn out ok for another 5-7 years. That’s why making tweaks to any part of the ingredients or processes can have major consequences. That said, Maker’s Mark is all in on Certified Regenified corn and wheat.
What is Regenified Agriculture? The Answer is as Simple as 6-3-4.
In many ways, certified regenified grains is an extension of sustainability but with some very specific and measurable guidelines. According to the UnderstandingAg website it’s about soil health and regenerative agriculture principles in farming and ranching operations. They sum it up with what they call a 6-3-4™ Verification Standard that includes Six Principles of Soil Health, Three Rules of Adaptive Stewardship, and Four Ecosystem Processes. The three charts below the videos explain it in more detail. You can click any image to enlarge.
Maker’s Mark 8th Generation Distiller Rob Samuels explains what it means to be Certified Regenified.
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Maker’s Mark, in working with its local corn and wheat farmers, has become the first distillery in the world to use certified regenified grains in its bourbon whiskey making process.
Beginning Tuesday, November 28, 2023 Maker’s achieved this certification designated by Regenified, a leading third-party verification and supply chain-solution. With this certification, Maker’s continues on its long-term mission to cultivate bourbon that betters the world, while crafting the most flavorful product possible.
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This historic barrel filling was made possible by the strong partnership and shared vision between Maker’s Mark and its long-term partner farmers in the Kentucky community who supply its corn and distinctive flavoring grain of red winter wheat, which together make up 86% of the iconic Kentucky bourbon’s mashbill. To be Certified Regenified, more than 75% of the grains in the mashbill must be sourced from Certified Regenified farms that have demonstrated a commitment to restoring and revitalizing our most precious resource – our soil – through regenerative agriculture practices. Each of the brand’s corn and wheat farm partners achieved Regenified certification this fall.
“Today, I am proud to say that the Maker’s Mark fans know and love is being crafted, in large part, using regenerative practices that give back to the land more than we take,” said 8th Generation Distiller and Grandson of the Founders Rob Samuels.
“When we commit to these practices, we are rewarded with a healthier environment, higher quality ingredients and ultimately, a more flavorful whisky. I couldn’t be more grateful to our grain farmer partners who have shared our commitment from the beginning. It’s a proud moment to have our efforts, together, validated and recognized by an organization like Regenified.”
Regenified was founded in 2021 by a team of regenerative farming pioneers, experts and innovators to promote regenerative farming practices and combat the decline of soil health due to intensive and unsustainable agricultural practices. The organization works with farmers and ranchers alongside food manufacturers and retailers to repair, rebuild, revitalize, and restore the function of the ecosystem and preserve the soil for future generations. Through the Regenified verified label and their proprietary 6-3-4™ Verification Standard, Regenified helps farmers and ranchers understand where their practices and lands are on the regenerative path.
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“Maker’s Mark’s step with their first Certified Regenified whiskey is more than a milestone; it’s a story of dedication and partnership with their farmers and the environment,” said Salar Shemirani, chief executive officer at Regenified. “As one of the first companies of its size and scale to genuinely embrace regenerative practices, Maker’s Mark is setting a new industry standard for others to follow. Partnering with their farmers, they are committed to achieving measurable and continuous improvement above and below the ground, for generations to come.”
Since its founding, Maker’s Mark has been driven by a sense of responsibility towards its shared natural environment. In addition to advancing regenerative agriculture practices in its own production, other recent initiatives from the B Corp certified brand include 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 the establishment of a 78-acre Natural Water Sanctuary on its distillery grounds to preserve and protect the land that filters its water source now and in the future.
Visitors to Maker’s Mark Distillery will find new guest experiences at its homeplace of Star Hill Farm designed to provide a deeper understanding of the agricultural, research and flavor initiatives happening on the property.
– Watch as Maker’s Mark 8th Generation Distiller Rob Samuels Introduces Certified Regenified Bourbon [VIDEO]
– Flavor Through Nature: Maker’s Mark Distillery Opens Up 1,100 Acre Star Hill Farm to New Tours & Experiences
– For the 1st Time in 70 Years, Maker’s Mark Launches an 11- & 12-Year-Old Cask Strength ‘Cellar Aged’ Kentucky Bourbon
Maker’s Mark is the largest bourbon distillery in the world to achieve B Corp Certification and the first distillery to achieve Regenified certification, a reflection of the brand’s dedication towards building a more inclusive and sustainable economy.