Maker’s Mark Natural Water Sanctuary

Maker’s Mark has established a 33-acre Natural Water Sanctuary on its distillery grounds to preserve the land that filters the water, and to protect it as the source of our water now and in the future.

Maker’s Mark Natural Water Sanctuary

Great bourbon starts with great water. Kentucky bourbon gets its wonderful taste, in part, from the local water, which has been filtered naturally through limestone. Maker’s Mark has established a 33-acre Natural Water Sanctuary on its distillery grounds to preserve the land that filters the water, and to protect it as the source of our water now and in the future. 

Efforts underway at the Maker’s Mark Natural Water Sanctuary will preserve and protect our water supply by developing and maintaining healthy forests.  Healthy forests provide a “natural filter” to help purify, regenerate and replenish our water supply. A diversity in plant species slows water down by creating vertical layers - from the top of the trees, through shrubs, and down to the ground cover. This promotes better filtration, inhibits runoff and conditions the soil.  The water that reaches the lake at the Maker’s Mark plant will be in better condition, and part of a healthier environment. Higher quality vegetation also improves wildlife habitats. 

Improvements to the Natural Water Sanctuary included thinning cedars trees, which create a dense canopy and reduce species diversity.  American White Oak along with a mixture of native trees and shrubs were planted across the entire area and nesting boxes were placed throughout the Natural Water Sanctuary and the shores of Bourbon Lake.  As a sign of the long-term commitment to this program, Maker’s Mark recently hired a naturalist to oversee the Natural Water Sanctuary and the other diverse habitats that comprise Star Hill Farm. 

Beam Suntory has also partnered with the University of Kentucky and the Suntory Institute for Water Science to develop watershed balance at its Kentucky distilleries, and ongoing monitoring of preservation and protection activities.  Beam Suntory’s Natural Water Sanctuary Program is inspired by Suntory’s unwavering dedication to water quality and sustainability, and the company looks forward to expanding these programs and engaging the community in protecting the source of local limestone water for our bourbon distillation and the health of our community for generations to come.