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    Four Roses Announces Master Distiller Rutledge To Retire
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    Four Roses announced this morning their Master Distiller since 1995, Jim Rutledge, will be retiring effective September 1, 2015. Rutledge is in his 49th year in the distilling business, and he will be succeeded by Quality Director Brent Elliott.

    Four Roses was not available in the United States for nearly 40 years. The only whiskey sold in the United States under the Four Roses name was a bottom-shelf blended whiskey that gave Four Roses a terrible reputation. Rutledge knew as Master Distiller he had to turn the perception around if the brand were going to stand a chance in the U.S. market. He seized the opportunity to bring Four Roses back to the U.S. market when Kirin bought the distillery in 2002.

    Rutledge knew replacing the blended whiskey with higher quality Four Roses bourbon wouldn’t be enough to salvage the company’s reputation. That’s when he started producing new offerings such as the Single Barrel and Small Batch offerings that are so popular now.

    According to the press release from Four Roses, “When asked about retirement and what may lie ahead, Rutledge stated that his passion for the Bourbon industry, and especially Four Roses, will never diminish, and he went on to say he plans to stay involved in the industry he loves in so much – perhaps including various roles as Four Roses’ Master Distiller Emeritus.”

    Rutledge has made an indelible mark on the bourbon industry. No matter what comes next for the brand, he will always be the man who single-handedly changed the perception of Four Roses in the United States right before the start of the bourbon boom. That alone makes him deserving of a box full of gold watches.

    Photos Courtesy of Four Roses

    Maggie Kimberl's picture

    About Maggie Kimberl

    I'm a Louisville native with a passion for traveling and homegrown tomatoes. I write the bourbon news, which keeps me plenty busy since Louisville is the center of the bourbon universe. See bourbon news happening? Contact me on Twitter @LouGirl502!

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