Long, long ago, in a market not so far away from where I now live, Four Roses was a commonplace whiskey brand. I can still recall seeing it on the bar shelves at the homes of family friends, and pictures of it in magazines and on bulletin boards.
Even today, Four Roses ads, such as the 1954 version shown here, are popular with ephemera collectors and auction house regulars.
This particular Kentucky bourbon wasn't of interest in my household, where Dad was a strict Jim Beam and I.W. Harper man, but it was available in enough places for me to sample a sip or two in my maturing years.
But Four Roses, although made in Lawrenceburg, KY, had not been sold domestically in decades and wasn't re-introduced to Kentucky's limited retail market until five years ago. Its primary market was Japan -- fittingly enough since it is owned by Japan's Kirin Brewery Co., which bought it in October 2001-- and Europe.
This week, Four Roses came back in New York City, where I first encountered it lo those many years ago.
It will be available in small-batch and single-barrel versions at a limited number of restaurants, bars and liquor stores as part of an expansion campaign.
Jim Rutledge, master distiller, said today in a statement, "The relevance of New York is important as we re-establish Four Roses in the U.S. Our barrel inventories have increased to the level that can now support the introduction of Four Roses bourbon into other select markets.”
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