Four Roses Distillery • Lawrenceburg, KY
Distillery Tours- Monday – Saturday • 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, on the hour and
Sunday • 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm, on the hour. The tour is free!
What makes Four Roses different from other distilleries?
- They store their bourbon in single story rickhouses.
- They use four yeasts instead of one; each yeast contributes something different to the flavor profile. No other distillery has this many!
- The grounds feature a unique Spanish Mission–style architecture.
A Brief History
Established by Paul Jones Jr, Four Roses Distillery was started in 1922 and was one of only six distilleries granted permission to operate through prohibition to produce bourbon for “medicinal purposes.” The name of the distillery came from his marriage proposal. Apparently he proposed via letter to a lady; she said that the answer would be “yes” if she worse a corsage of roses to an upcoming ball. The night of the soiree, she wore four red roses. He named the distillery “Four Roses” as a symbol of his love for her. Four Roses continued production and shipment to the US until the mid 70s when the company was bought out by Segrams, who shut down sale to the US and began concentrating on the European and Asian markets. In 2002, the brand was bought by Kirin Brewery Company LTD and Four Roses brought it’s bourbon back to Kentucky and the United States. (Photo below from http://adventuresofjessieanderic.wordpress.com/.)
According to their website, “Four Roses is the only Bourbon distillery that combines five proprietary yeast strains with two separate mashbills to produce 10 distinct and handcrafted bourbon recipes, each with its own unique character, spiciness and rich fruity flavors.” Other distilleries use only one strain of yeast. Four Roses stores their bourbon barrels on single story rick houses, also a unique feature of Four Roses Distilleries. Learn more about each yeast strain here.
The grounds of Four Roses are beautiful. The Spanish Mission style buildings are totally different than other buildings in the area. Surrounded by farms, the distillery is small and comfortable. The tour guide was knowledgeable and able to answer all the questions we had about the bourbon, the distillery, and the area. During the summer, the water level of the Salt River (where they get their water) drops. So each year they go into shut down mode until the fall. Of course, they were in shut down when we visited. We didn’t get to see the distillation process in action, though we did see the equipment and get an explanation of each step. The tour would have been better if we had seen the process but the tour was still very enjoyable.
At the end of the tour, you get to sample the three different bourbons pictured above. My favorite was the small batch bourbon. Be sure to eat before you go. We were running late the morning of the tour so I had no coffee or breakfast- I am only half human before these things. An empty stomach plus nearly a shot of bourbon equals a tipsy girl at 10 am. Not a good plan!
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