Do we care more about flavor than we used to? Bill Samuels Jr. thinks so

Dec 5, 2014, 12:36pm EST

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Bill Samuels Jr.

Reporter- Louisville Business First
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American tastes have changed in favor of flavor, according to Bill Samuels Jr., chairman emeritus of Loretto-based Maker's Mark Distillery Inc. Samuels made those comments earlier this week on CNBC's "Closing Bell."

"The American people are starting to enjoy and appreciate flavor," he said. "It's good for us and not so good for vodka, not so good for white wine. Good for red wine." He didn't elaborate on why, but he seemed to be referring to the full-bodied flavors often found in bourbon and red wines.

Samuels said the trend also is very good for non-chain restaurants. "It's about craft, it's about tradition and it's about good tastes," he said.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me. I can't imagine a time when people walked into a bar or restaurant and said: "Hey, gimme something bland and flavorless." That said, Samuels is right in noting that consumers have been focusing more on tradition and craft. You're probably well aware that the bourbon industry is in the midst of an amazing boom. As I've talked to experts about the reasons behind that boom, tradition and changing tastes are usually mentioned.

Samuels also spoke the relationship between U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and President Obama, referencing the much-discussed Bourbon Summit. And he commented on the popularity of his company's new Maker's Mark Cask Strength: A 113 proof bourbon that's only sold in Loretto.

"It has caused an incredible craze … like nothing we've ever experienced," Samuels said.

David A. Mann covers these beats: Health care, health insurance, distribution/logistics (UPS), manufacturing (GE, Ford), environment, travel, minority/women’s affairs and Southern Indiana.


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