Four Roses Master Distiller Jim Rutledge’s Retirement Celebration
Master Distiller Jim Rutledge, who almost single-handedly resurrected the Four Roses Bourbon brand officially retires on August 31, 2015 after almost five decades in the spirits business. Jim’s contribution to the Bourbon world was celebrated this weekend at fittingly enough, Bourbon Bistro in Louisville, KY.
If you are a fan of Four Roses Bourbon you can thank Jim. You see Four Roses Bourbon started way back in 1,888 but, the now thriving brand was banished from the U.S. for almost 40 years. Four Roses Bourbon survived World War 1, Prohibition and World War 2 but it couldn’t survive a 1943 acquisition by Seagram’s. Seagram’s was a blended whisky company and they eventually pulled the Four Roses Bourbon brand from the U.S. market to focus on their blended whiskies.
It wasn’t until 2002 when Kirin Brewery Company, Ltd. in Japan purchased the Four Roses trademark from Seagram’s and named the new acquisition Four Roses Distillery, LLC. And that is what started the brands return to the Kentucky Straight Bourbon the world knows today. It was two years later in September of 2004 that Four Roses introduced its single barrel bourbon and started the re-birth of one of the world’s top selling bourbons.
The intimate event was hosted by Bourbon Bistro co-owners Jason Brauner and John Morrison. Here are a few photographs from the Bourbon Bistro’s intimate “Goodbye” gathering to celebrate the Jim’s contributions to the bourbon industry.