178 – Remembering Four Roses and The Rebirth of Cream of Kentucky with Jim Rutledge

Jim Rutledge is a household name in bourbon because his wealth of knowledge is unsurpassed and famed history of reviving Four Roses. We talk about those days and ask him why he really left something so great. But, there’s a new chapter to write! This week his TTB label for a revival of an old brand, Cream of Kentucky, was approved. We talk about this bourbon, where it’s headed, as well as the entire industry on this new exclusive episode.

Show Notes:
  • This weeks Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about the importance of social media and online forums by whiskey geeks.
  • Episode 011 and 012 with Jim Rutledge
  • Rewind us back to your retirement because it seemed like you didn’t want to stay retired for long
  • What’s your involvement at Castle and key?
  • Whatever happened to that rye?
  • Did you see a different passion at Castle & Key while it was building vs Four Roses that was a well-oiled engine?
  • What sort of corners were being cut at Seagrams at the time when you were trying to turn it around?
  • Talk about rebuilding the brand of Four Roses through acquisition, fighting, and more.
  • Be straight. Why did you leave Four Roses?
  • Did you stand up a lot to upper management?
  • It sounded like Four Roses was family. So why leave?
  • Is it hard to work at a distillery where you’re only filling 3 barrels a day?
  • Did you hire Brent Elliott?
  • What was your relationship with Brent while at Four Roses?
  • How does one go about becoming your #2?
  • Talk about funding and how to raise money to build a distillery?
  • Talk about Cream of Kentucky and the history of the label
  • Where is the growth going to be for this particular label?
  • Where do you see the American whiskey category trending over the next 5 years?


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