If you’ve followed the bourbon shortage the past couple years, what you’re about to read might send you straight to the liquor store to clean out your favorite brand.
Four Roses will not be releasing its annual Limited Edition Single Barrel, the company told me, citing the great bourbon shortage. In a company statement, Four Roses officials said: “Due to inventory concerns over aged stock, and to continue to provide the highest quality products, beginning in 2015, Four Roses Distillery will be selecting and bottling their Limited Edition Single Barrel product for special commemorative bottling occasions only. We will, however, continue to produce and bottle our Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon each year in the fall.” Last year’s Four Roses Limited Single Barrel Release was only 5,000 bottles.
This also marks the latest brand to significantly alter the course of its products. Jim Beam cut the 8-year-old age statement of its Jim Beam Black Product. By dropping the age statement, Jim Beam Black is not beholden to a minimum age of 8-year-old bourbon. Other brands have dropped age statements, such as Very Old Barton, and lowered proofs (read about the Maker’s Mark proof debacle) to stretch product, while once everyday bourbons have become extremely scarce and Limited Editions commanded long lines on freezing cold days. And of course, there’s Pappy Van Winkle, which requires a pint of blood and a Congressional letter to get these days.
Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel is the latest victim to bourbon’s popularity. This non release also confirms to many naysayers that the bourbon shortage is very real.
One thing is for sure: I’ll be cherishing my Four Roses Single Barrel Limited Edition 2014 just a little bit more now. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.
Fred Minnick is the author of Bourbon Curious.