With the Kentucky Derby coming up in just a few weeks, we’ve been thinking about roses and mint juleps — the perfect time for Four Roses Bourbon! We’ve been working with them for a few years now and even shared their bow ties and scarves in a previous blog. This month we’re proud to have them as our Customer Spotlight, and so we asked Kelli Wright for more info.
Can you tell us more about the Four Roses Distillery/the brand?
The Four Roses story began in 1888, a few years after our founder, Paul Jones, Jr. moved his thriving Bourbon business to Louisville, KY, where he opened an office on “Whiskey Row.” It all started when he became smitten by the beauty of a Southern belle. 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 the night of the grand ball…when she arrived in her beautiful gown, she wore a corsage of four red roses. He later named his Bourbon “Four Roses” as a symbol of this devout passion for the lovely belle, a passion he thereafter transferred to making his beloved Four Roses Bourbon.
The company remained in the Jones family, surviving prohibition as one of six distilleries licensed to operate for “medicinal purposes”, and became a household name. In 1943, Seagram purchased the brand, and the decision was made to discontinue the sale of Four Roses KY Straight Bourbon in the U.S. Four Roses Bourbon was moved to the rapidly growing European and Asian markets where it quickly became and still is a top-selling Bourbon in both Europe and Japan today.
In 2002, the Kirin Brewery Company, Ltd. Purchased the Four Roses Bourbon brand trademark and production facilities. Shortly thereafter, Four Roses Bourbon was once again sold in the U.S. and quickly earned the reputation of being one of the most notable names in the Bourbon world.
The people who work at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY and our warehouse facility in Cox’s Creek, KY continue the legacy that began with Paul Jones in 1888. Their passion for quality and pride in handcrafting an award-winning Bourbon is evident in the smooth, mellow taste that has become the signature of the Four Roses Brand.
How long have you been apart of the spirits industry and what has your experience been like?
I joined the spirits industry in 2012, right at the height of the “Bourbon Boom”. The industry is unlike any other — while we are competitors, our industry partners support each other for the common good. It truly is like being a part of a family. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a partnership amongst the Kentucky Distillers Association and 14 Distilleries in Kentucky, is a joint effort to promote growth and Bourbon tourism. When I joined the team at Four Roses, there were 6 distilleries on the KBT. The growth in our industry has been phenomenal, and I’m proud to represent the time-honored traditions of Four Roses and our fellow distillers. The passion for the craft and the dedication of our people are evident in the product we produce and the experiences we provide to our guests.
Do you have any upcoming events that you are excited about? If so, what?
2019 will be a busy year for us at Four Roses! Spring brings a rush of guests to KY to celebrate Keeneland Spring Meet, the Derby, and the Spring meet at Churchill Downs. Kentucky has so much to offer for our visitors, and we are always excited to meet people who travel from all over the world.
Is there a favorite event or program that you or your team look forward to every year?
We are fortunate to participate in many events throughout the year, and look forward to meeting our fans and new friends at every occasion. The Kentucky Bourbon Affair hosted in June and Kentucky Bourbon Festival, in September, are two of our favorites, as they combine multiple events during the time, geared towards fellow Bourbon enthusiasts. The folks who come out to visit during these times are amazing!
What is your favorite cocktail made with Four Roses?
I usually prefer to sip my Four Roses Single Barrel neat, or up. However, the Petal Pusher by mixologist Colleen Clarke, is one of my favorite new cocktails. A perfect Spring libation, the Petal Pusher earned the 2017 People’s Choice Award at our annual Rose Julep Competition. The full recipe can be found at www.FourRosesBourbon.com, under the “Cocktails” heading. Be sure to check it out! Be mellow.