To celebrate the 130th Anniversary of Four Roses this year, we’re taking you on a walk down memory lane in our blog series, “Four Roses: Through the Decades.”
Stay tuned in with our Straight Up newsletter and blog to make sure you don’t miss a single mellow moment, starting all the way back in 1888 when our brand was born, to now! We are excited to share stories and relics from our past that have mingled together in harmony to form what Four Roses is today.
In the 1950s Four Roses was converted from a straight whiskey to a blend by Seagram President and Owner, Samuel Bronfman. This was following his acquisition of Frankfort Distilleries in 1943, which included two major brands – Four Roses and Paul Jones.
At the time Four Roses was purchased, it was comprised of 90 proof blends (45%) of straight whiskeys, but by 1947 it was converted to a spirits blend as part of the Bronfman philosophy. Four Roses had always been a very respected name in the industry, since long before Prohibition, but under the regulation of Bronfman, things began moving at a much faster pace.
In 1945, 600,000 cases were being produced per year, and by 1952, that number rose to 1,200,000 cases annually. At this time, Four Roses was first in its price class and one of the best-known, most admired brands in America. When owned by Frankfort Distilleries, Four Roses had been sold for export as a Straight Bourbon whiskey and continued to be exported to Europe and Japan as such under Seagram ownership.
A 1950s article in Modern Packaging examined a popular Four Roses advertisement copy line of the time: “Wouldn’t you rather drink Four Roses?” The article noted, “In whiskey, more certainly than almost any other field, consistent quality of products is first and most critical. And millions of Americans will back up the maker’s proud boast in current advertising that Four Roses is whiskey of the very finest flavor and quality. Its reputation is unsurpassed by any other brand on the market… As a result of the unique name and trademark, …Four Roses is today (1950) one of America’s best known trade names, ranking well up with such other famous ‘handles’ as Coca-Cola, Ford, Jell-O and Kodak.”