View Full Version : Four Roses Expands Outside Kentucky!

03-09-2007, 10:18
(mods, feel free to move if there is a more appropriate forum for this)

Four Roses will now be sold in and around NYC, and they're looking to move into at least one more market by the end of 2007. This is great news for a great bourbon and the bourbon industry as a whole.

Here is the message sent to Mellow Moments members today:

This is such an exciting time of year for college Basketball fans in the U.S. as they cheer on their favorite teams in conference tournaments and hopefully the Big Show - the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Since 1972 I've been running a NCAA jackpot for our employees, and it generates an aire of excitement in our facilities - especially with Eastern Ky. University, University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky likely participating in this year's Big Event. In about a week I'll print the jackpot for distribution, but I may have to turn the grading...totally over to others - for a very different kind of excitement and passion.

Four Roses Bourbon is about to make its first expansion into U.S. markets outside Kentucky - the New York City metro area. I accompanied a marketing and sales team from Four Roses to New York a few weeks back to select a distributor and visit several potential accounts. We selected Southern Wine and Spirits as our wholesaler - the same company that we use in Kentucky. On April 4th Four Roses will participate in "Whisky Live - New York", a prestigious and high profile tasting event for Kentucky Bourbons and other distilled spirit brands. The tasting is part of Whisky Magazine's "Live" Tastings they hold in major cities around the world. I've participated in and been a speaker at Tokyo Live, and it was quite an honor to be there for Four Roses, but this one is even more exciting since our presence is a springboard for Four Roses introduction into metro NYC - including Westchester County and part of Long Island. We're experiencing March Madness at Four Roses right now as we prepare for New York, and it's even more exciting than the NCAA variety of madness.

Our barrel inventories have increased to the level that can now support introductions of Four Roses Bourbon into other select markets. We will move slowly at first to ensure the demand of Four Roses Bourbon does not exceed our ability to supply product. We're also a small distillery relative to staff of sales and marketing personnel, and we enjoy our hands-on approach in the marketplace, so several of us will be very busy outside Kentucky in the ensuing months. The owners of two very prominent NYC liquor stores have already asked me to come to their stores sometime in May for their Grand Introduction of Four Roses. That number will no doubt grow after Whisky Live.

Moving beyond the borders of Kentucky is something I've looked forward to for many years, and I'd love to still be around when we are truly a Nationally sold Bourbon brand. Right now we're still taking baby steps, but we're walking with our feet more firmly planted, and our heads held securely higher, enabling us to see better into the future. We made a decision several years ago that we would move slowly back into the U.S. market. We chose Kentucky to introduce Four Roses back to the U.S. because it is the most competitive of all Bourbon markets. We've learned a lot, as we've sought to build a very solid foundation to build on for years and years to come - decades beyond my time. We were determined not to generate substantial "over-night" sales volumes - which, if not careful, can disappear just as quickly. Our plans have been and will continue to be to build that solid foundation for the future - one that will not waiver with the ups and downs of the economy and other market influences. We're far more focused on where we'll be ten, twenty, fifty...years from now than how we're positioned at this moment. We're at the point in time that we are looking to additional markets for Four Roses and it is exciting. (I think I might have said "exciting" before, but that's what passion does to a person - causes them to repeat themselves many times when the future looks so awesomely good. Someone told me at an event a couple weeks back that it probably has something to do with age too, but I didn't know what he was talking about.)

I can't tell you for sure now the next market we will enter, but I certainly hope, and anticipate, at least one more venture in 2007. As we move along, the markets will - sooner than later - begin to grow like a snowball cascading down the side of a steep hill. Stay tuned for more information as it occurs, and as always I want to thank you, our Mellow Moments Club members, for being such an important and influential part of the growth of Four Roses Bourbon. We most certainly wouldn't be where we are today without YOU!

I nearly forgot to mention to you our next Mellow Moments event at Four Roses. April 28th marks the first Kentucky Bourbon Festival event of 2007 - "The Sampler" in Bardstown. Nearly all the distilleries participate in the event - offering samples of their Bourbons - and local restaurants provide food samplings. The event begins at 6 pm. That morning Four Roses will host an event for you at the distillery. We will begin at 10 am with a Bourbon "101 course," taught by me, followed by a tour of the distillery and lunch under the Gazebo. Some of you have attended events like this in the past, but the majority has not and we want as many of you as possible to visit our distillery, hear about the distilling process and what makes Four Roses unique. During or after lunch I will also bring you up to date on what's happening in Kentucky and New York. I hope many of you can attend, and there will not be a cost. A more detailed invitation, including driving directions to the distillery, will be sent to you in a couple weeks. We will be limited to about 30 people so please RSVP as soon as possible if you would like to attend, and if you already know you will join us at Four Roses on that day you may respond directly to this email in order to get your name on the list of participants early.

To learn more about "The Sampler" and other Kentucky Bourbon Festival events please visit their website: www.kybourbonfestival.com, or call the office directly @: 800-638-4877 to speak with Pam, Mary Jane or Johanna.

Have a Happy March Madness and spring, and I'll keep you posted on what we're doing and where we're going.


Jim Rutledge
Master Distiller

03-09-2007, 23:26
Promising news as I've yet to try it. Let's hope it gets to the left coast soon.

03-10-2007, 15:31
One would have to presume that LeNells would be one of those stores...I wonder how long before they make it to Binny's??


03-10-2007, 22:57
One would have to presume that LeNells would be one of those stores...
You would be correct (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=83448&postcount=6), sir.

03-11-2007, 05:26
I'm with you Hightower. I wish they had started with Illinois so my favorite retailer [Binny's] would have it.


03-24-2007, 19:26
Four Roses Bourbon is about to make its first expansion into U.S. markets outside Kentucky...Moving beyond the borders of Kentucky is something I've looked forward to for many years, and I'd love to still be around when we are truly a Nationally sold Bourbon brand.

This is not entirely correct; Four Roses was nationally advertised and sold back in the 1940s. I don't have my "ad archive" handy, so I don't remember whether it was a straight or vatted whiskey, but I don't believe it was a straight bourbon at the time. One of these ads actually says that Four Roses takes its name from four different whiskeys blended together, so it was probably a vatting, but the entire Paul Jones line (of which Four Roses was a part) was advertised as being "all whiskey". My guess is that since the distillery was in Frankfort, the components were bourbon...or bourbon-in-training if it was a tad young :)

03-25-2007, 09:04
One of these ads actually says that Four Roses takes its name from four different whiskeys blended together

Which would be different than what they're saying on their website today:

"The Legend of Four Roses

It began when Paul Jones, Jr., the founder of Four Roses Bourbon, became smitten by the beauty of a Southern belle. It is said that he sent a proposal to her, and she replied that if her answer were “Yes,” she would wear a corsage of roses on her gown to the upcoming grand ball. Paul Jones waited for her answer excitedly on that night of the grand ball…when she showed up in her beautiful gown, she wore a corsage of four red roses. He later named his Bourbon “Four Roses” as a symbol of his devout passion for the lovely belle, a passion he thereafter transferred to making his beloved Four Roses Bourbon."

As far as the accruacy of the distribution statement, perhaps the previous iteration was blended whiskey under the Four Roses name and now is the first time they've sold a bourbon under the Four Roses name outside KY. The way it was stated also allows for the possibility of a past bourbon from the Four Roses distillery being sold outside KY, but not under the Four Roses name. At least that's the way I took it.

03-25-2007, 19:00
Yes, Four Roses was once a national brand. Whether it was a staight or a blend, or both, I'm not quite sure. By the end of its "run" it was a blend and considered pretty undistinguished, which was why Seagram's mostly discontinued it. (I have reason to believe it can still be found in a tiny handful of markets.)

As the international popularity of bourbon started to grow in the 1980s, Four Roses Straight Bourbon was the main horse Seagram's rode in non-U.S. markets, even as it killed the brand off here.

In the late 1990s, Jim Rutledge persuaded Seagram's to distribute the standard Four Roses yellow label bourbon in Kentucky, primarily so the company's employees could buy it.

So, yes, the expansion into New York and subsequent markets is a re-launch of a formerly national brand. I think most people here understood this, but one apparently can't be too literal.

As for the legend of the Four Roses name, there are a number of stories. The brand was started by a family named Rose and the oldest story, the one I find most credible, is that the "four roses" were the founder's four daughters. When Paul Jones bought the brand, the story about the corsage emerged, probably as a way to connect him to the brand's name and obliterate the memory of the original founders, the Roses.

03-26-2007, 13:40
I heard that Kirin owns Four Roses, if that is the case when did they buy it?

03-26-2007, 14:16
The deal was struck in Fall 2001, concluded in February 2002.

03-26-2007, 16:46
I read somewhere about how Four Roses bourbon vanished from the US market. Seagrams purchased the Four Roses distillery in the 1940's and later decided that they would promote Seagrams 7 as their flagship American whiskey brand. they decided to sell Four Roses bourbon on the export market only around 1957 and only offered Four Roses blended in the US until Kirin bought Four Roses in 2002 and reintroduced Four Roses bourbon onto the Kentucky market. At about the same time, the Four Roses blended was discontinued. Ever since I can remember, I only ever saw the blended Four roses in Ohio and it had even been years since the dept. of liquor control even listed it here. I am certainly glad that Four Roses bourbon is back on the US market!