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After $55 Million Expansion, Four Roses Closes In On A Quarter-Million Cases In The U.S.

July 11, 2019

Following a four-year, $55 million expansion project that doubled distillation capacity, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky-based Four Roses is primed to take a larger share of the U.S. Bourbon category moving forward.

Last year, Four Roses reached 240,000 cases in the U.S., up 14% from the previous year, according to Impact Databank. In 2010, the brand stood at just 20,000 cases. The Four Roses portfolio has been focused on three core releases—a standard Bourbon, a Small Batch whiskey, and a Single Barrel bottling—supplemented with yearly special editions that are sought after among Bourbon enthusiasts.

In April, the company added its first new core expression 12 years, Four Roses Small Batch Select ($60). The 52% abv whiskey started as a pet project of master distiller Brent Elliott, who spent over a year tinkering with the recipe. Small Batch Select is initially available in California, Georgia, Kentucky, New York, and Texas, but the company is planning a national push looking ahead.

Four Roses’ U.S. expansion has closely mirrored the timeline of the Bourbon boom. Prior to that, the company—owned by Japan’s Kirin—was largely focused on the export market. When the U.S. category took off, Four Roses was well-positioned, Elliott explains. “We were in a fortunate position, because we had some buffer capacity. For the first five or six years, the volume in the U.S. was small enough that we could meet whatever demand we needed to with our excess inventory,” he says. “In 2014, we realized that we weren’t going to be able to keep up without expanding.”

Four Roses’ $55 million expansion was split between the distillery itself (accounting for $34 million) and its warehousing and bottling facilities, which received $21 million. While the first new warehouse was completed in November 2018, the company’s storage capacity continues to expand, with more warehouses planned for the future.—Shane English

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