SOURCE: Four Roses Bourbon

October 18, 2007 10:34 ET

Bourbon Déjà Vu: Four Roses Returns to Illinois After 45-Year Absence

LAWRENCEBURG, KY--(Marketwire - October 18, 2007) - Bourbon connoisseurs in Illinois may experience déjà vu, as a long-time favorite Bourbon is returning to the area after a 45-year absence.

Four Roses Bourbon was the top-selling U.S. Bourbon during much of the 1930s, '40s and '50s, when its distribution changed to focus solely overseas. The Kentucky-made Bourbon is making its comeback with Four Roses Single Barrel and Four Roses Small Batch, both set to land in restaurants, bars and liquor stores throughout Illinois by mid-November.

"We're no strangers to Illinois and it's great to be back," said Jim Rutledge, Four Roses Master Distiller and a Bourbon Hall of Fame member, who has been with Four Roses for 40 years.

In 2002, Four Roses was re-introduced to the U.S. with distribution limited to Kentucky. Rutledge said Four Roses has had double-digit growth every year since and have increased "our barrel inventories to the level that can now support the introduction of Four Roses into other select markets."

Nationwide, Bourbon has been experiencing a resurgence, which Rutledge attributes to many distilleries in Kentucky producing and marketing ultra-premium Bourbons over the past decade. "There's no doubt that the single-barrel and small-batch craze has pulled this industry up by its bootstraps," he said.

Shortly after Four Roses Single Barrel was introduced, it was named "Best American Whiskey Under 10 Years Old" by Whisky Magazine in its 2005 Best of Best Awards, and was recently named "Best Bourbon - No Age Statement" among more than 150 proprietary whiskies at the 2007 World Whiskies Awards at Whisky Live in New York City.

Four Roses Small Batch was introduced last year at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival and quickly sold out of its first bottling run, forcing a second bottling run much sooner than anticipated. Both Bourbons recently earned a rare five-star rating, the highest awarded by Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal, a leading liquor-industry publication.

Illinois will be one of four states outside Kentucky where Four Roses is now available. The brand returned to New York, New Jersey and Tennessee earlier this year.

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