Maker’s Mark Natural Water Sanctuary

According to Maker’s Mark, great Bourbon starts with great water. Kentucky Bourbon gets its wonderful taste partially from the quality of the local water, which has been filtered naturally through limestone. Now, Maker’s Mark has established a 33-acre natural water sanctuary on its distillery grounds to look after the land that filters the water, and to preserve it as the source of their water now and going forward.


The work taking place currently at the Maker’s Mark Natural Water Sanctuary will preserve and protect the brand’s water supply by developing and maintaining healthy forests. Healthy forests provide a “natural filter” to help purify, regenerate and replenish the water supply. A diversity of plant species slows the 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. In addition, 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 begun collaboration 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 dedication to water quality and sustainability, and the company says that it looks forward to expanding these programs and engaging the community in protecting the source of local limestone water for their Bourbon distillation and the health of their community for generations to come.

Commenting on their commitment to water and the environment, Beam Suntory said: “Our efforts in water are focused on creating natural water sanctuaries, watershed protection planning and enhancing water quality testing and specifications.”


“Water is the common denominator and source of life for all Beam Suntory products—so we take preserving it to heart. Locations around the world invest time and resources to reduce their rate of usage and to conduct long-term freshwater planning.”

“At the center of all production processes is energy. Our efforts are focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our combustion processes and reducing our per-unit energy consumption at all of our facilities. We deliver on this commitment around the world.”

“From distilleries to corporate offices, the opportunities to reduce waste and reuse materials are endless—and Beam Suntory finds innovative ways to do so. Value engineering is a significant contributor to reducing material usage and preventing waste, while process improvements throughout the organization drive our recycling efforts.”

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