Long before the Mellow Moments Club was established in 2005 there was an informal, private club for Four Roses enthusiasts called the Four Roses Society. Though we don’t know much about the initial founding of the society and who its members were, we do know that the fundamental goal was similar to today’s Mellow Moments Club: to come together to talk about and enjoy Four Roses. This month, we’re looking at some vintage advertisements from the 50s and 60s that promoted Four Roses Bourbon with the help of the Four Roses Society.
These print ads reveal repeating themes of exclusivity, humor, masculinity and enjoying “the moment.” They always showcase the signature emblem of the Four Roses Society, four red roses on a green and yellow checkerboard crest, as well as the beloved bulldog “Sociable Bill the Fourth.” In several advertisements, he can be spotted in the background, such as in this “bon voyage” ad from 1959. Eventually, Bill goes on to become the official mascot of the Four Roses Society and appears as the focal point in later ads.
This 1959 ad shows the Four Roses Society “boldly conquering the snowy wilderness” when statehood was granted to Alaska. Their crest proudly atop the igloo suggests that the society is just as Alaskan as it is Kentuckian and American.
This 1958 ad depicts a Four Roses Society member losing his membership pin for the way he ordered a Bourbon. “Now every member knows…and it’s written in the by-laws…the word whiskey should always be prefaced by Four Roses.” There is a strong sense of exclusivity and community in this piece with the last line encouraging membership.
Humor appears in many of the ads like this one from 1959, which shows some friends sipping Four Roses while on an adventurous camping trip. Again, we see a theme of exclusivity and community with a very curious bear who wants to join in on the fun too.
Another entertaining ad from 1959 depicts a costume party where a knight surrounded by friends sips his Bourbon through a straw. This ad encourages camaraderie and self-expression with the caption reading “Even if you hate costume parties, you should put in an appearance. Just for the refreshments.”
In addition to the print ads, the Four Roses Society released a few records in the 50s and 60s. These records provided the public with sing-along, standard favorites and dance tunes that were perfect for home entertaining at the time. Again, our favorite bulldog appears as a howling member of this singing crew. Other mementos from the original society include jewelry, lapel pins and tie bars.
Presently, the Mellow Moments Club continues the best traditions of the Four Roses Society, celebrating Four Roses’ award-winning Bourbons and maintaining a true passion for a brand that embodies enjoying each moment. If you know anyone who was a member of the original Four Roses Society, we would love to speak with them! Please contact us at FourRoses@BCH.com.
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