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  1. #1
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    Four Roses Acquisition

    We still don't know who is buying Four Roses, but we know it won't be Jim Beam. According to an article today on Just-Drinks.com, Beam has indicated that it will pass on Passport Scotch and Four Roses Bourbon, seemingly the two most attractive brands on the block. Interestingly, in another Just-Drinks article, the head of Pernod (Diageo's partner in the Seagrams deal) indicated they would like to keep Four Roses but don't think it is compatible with their existing bourbon brand, Wild Turkey.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  2. #2
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    Re: Four Roses Acquisition

    ...the head of Pernod indicated they would like to keep Four Roses but don't think it is COMPATIBLE with their existing bourbon brand, Wild Turkey.

    What nonsense is that? Since when do bourbons have to be "COMPATIBLE"? How does variety pose a threat? Anyone else intrigued by that explanation?

    Omar



  3. #3
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    Re: Four Roses Acquisition

    I thought it curious that he mentioned it at all. "Compatible" was my word and perhaps the wrong choice.

    Here is what the article really said: "(Patrick Ricard) hinted that Pernod might have wanted to keep Four Roses Bourbon, saying: 'We already have Wild Turkey, and we are not that big so we have to make choices, there has to be some limit. Life is choice.'"

    --Chuck Cowdery

  4. #4
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    Re: Four Roses Acquisition

    Omar, I think you have a really good point. But one that is equally debatable from both sides. You're into promotion, so you should understand this pretty well... Pernod Ricard has been very successful with Wild Turkey. There's only so much money budgeted for foreign (i.e., American) spirits; every franc spent on promoting Four Roses would be a franc NOT spent on Wild Turkey. Also, a good share of the money already spent on Wild Turkey went to convince Europeans, Asians and the rest of the world that it's a better bourbon than Four Roses (a major brand everywhere but North America), and it was pretty successful, too. They would now have to pay for the privilege of fighting against their own advertising success!

    Of course, not everyone sees it that way. Mark Brown, Ken Weber, and the rest of the Buffalo Trace folks are facing an identical situation in acquiring the Weller label. Here is a bourbon they spent money to compete against, and now they own it. Their solution is to spotlight the new brand and promote it heavily. Of course, they have an incentive that is really the same situation in reverse... they have several VERY well-known and respected brands that they don't want to sink another nickel into because they're likely to be lost in their current corporate divorce/custody battles with Age International.

    It's a very delicate tightrope, and I don't blame Pernod Ricard one bit for not wanting to go anywhere near there.

    =John=
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  5. #5
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    Re: Four Roses Acquisition

    John, Chuck, thanks for the insight. I visited just-drinks.com in search of that article but couldn't find it. I did find a wonderful interview with Mr. Samuels about Maker's Mark and their projected growth. All bourbonheads must read it, dated April 2nd. Why doesn't MM go after Four Roses?

    I still can't figure why Four Roses isn't sold here -- or maybe IT IS and we don't know it, Mr. Kulsveen?

    Cheers,
    Omar




  6. #6
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    Re: Four Roses Acquisition

    Four Roses (bourbon) is available in Kentucky and Indiana (I believe) and maybe a couple of other states. After being unavailable at all in the U.S. for many years, they decided to testmarket it. In typical bourbon-marketing fashion, they chose to do this by not advertising or promoting it in any way. It got the results you might expect.

    It's an interesting bourbon, in that it's made differently from the way any other bourbon is made today. It's basically a blend of several completely different bourbons (different mashes, yeasts, processing, etc.), all of which happen to be made at the same distillery. We had a wonderful private tour of the distillery a couple years ago, given by Al Young (see here, or at our website below, under my signature), and they offered a similar tour to folks at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival as late as last year, I believe. We weren't at that one, but I understand it was similar to what you and Ken Weber are planning at Buffalo Trace. If they're not already closed down, maybe that'll be available again this year (it's currently scheduled for Friday morning; reservations required -- contact the Festival now; you don't want to miss this).

    =John=
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  7. #7
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    Re: Four Roses Acquisition

    John,

    Besides the blended concoctions, they make a single barrel, a single barrel ''reserve'', (the green label beauty that Jim Rutledge is so fond of and is just about depleted now) and a super-premium Asian platinum which must be a very small batch. I'd guess the stuff selling in Kentucky/Indiana (yellow label?) is a blend, like the black label export. Four Roses are age enigmas -- none in my collection have any kind of age statement.

    Omar


  8. #8
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    Re: Four Roses Acquisition

    Bulleit Bourbon also is now being made at Seagrams and sold by them.

    At the time Seagram's discontinued Four Roses in the U.S., it had deteriorated into a cheap blend with a bad reputation as, well, a cheap blend. Rather than try to revive it, they simply killed it.

    Many of the large drinks companies (Brown Forman is another example of this) have as a business philosophy that if they can't be a leader in a particular segment, they don't see the point of being in it at all. Sadly, the quality bourbon market is too small and unprofitable to interest the giant international companies. That's why most of the innovations in recent years have come from smaller companies like Sazerac (Buffalo Trace) and Heaven Hill.

    In addition to the Four Roses Bourbon sold internationally, the product of the Lawrenceburg plant is used as the aged whiskey constituent of Seagram's Seven Crown and the company's other blends.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  9. #9
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    Re: Four Roses Acquisition

    I was told the main difference between yellow and black label Four Roses was that Yellow label had about 20% 8 Year old whiskey and the rest was 4 to 6 Year old whereas the black label was about 80% 8 Year old whiskey with the rest younger whiskey. That is why neither has an aged statemnet on the bottle.
    Mike Veach


  10. #10
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    Re: Four Roses Acquisition

    I think with Four Roses, unlike all the other bourbons, age is not as much of a distiguishing factor. With most bourbons, there is only a single mashbill involved, only one yeast. And age (and warehouse location) becomes the most important factor in providing a range from which to create a finished product. With Four Roses, there is a much wider palette. I feel a little cheated, as an American, because I've only had the opportunity to experience one version of Four Roses bourbon (the yellow label -- which IS a straight bourbon, not a blend in the American whiskey sense). Frankly, I'm quite a bit less than impressed by what I've tasted. But with the selection of bourbons they have available, I imagine their other brands must be very different from one another, and to whatever degree they differ from Yellow Label, they must also be just that much better tasting :-)

    =John=
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

 

 

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