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Issue 131 - Forward Thinking

Whisky Magazine Issue 131
October 2015

 

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Forward Thinking

What does the future hold for Four Roses?

Usually, when I walk into the Four Roses offices, I sit down with Jim Rutledge, the now retired Master Distiller. This time, I am meeting with the new CEO, the first woman to lead a Bourbon company since Prohibition, and Rutledge's replacement, a brilliant choice, according to inside Four Roses sources.

The offices are quiet and the air lacks the usual mash aroma. It's mid August, when Four Roses and other distilleries are on shutdown, a much needed break for production workers and a time for the engineers to fine tune all of the equipment within the distillery.

Thus, this Four Roses encounter lacks the man I've grown to know and love, his whiskey, and the smells and sounds of a running distillery. But when I shake Satoko Yoshida's hand, her shen eclipsed what wasn't there. I looked into the face of Bourbon's most dynamic CEO, an incredible career path that's put her in Kentucky's darling and most revered distillery.

A veteran in the Kirin Brewing company, which owns Four Roses, Yoshida was named Four Roses' leader at the end of March.

Yoshida has worked in public relations, marketing and strategic reorganisation. An MBA graduate of the world-renowned MIT, Yoshido helped Kirin thin three companies into one in Australia, a reorganisation effort that could not have been easy. “Change, it is sometimes very tough,” she says.

Change became apparent in her first couple of months in Kentucky.

The Bourbon Hall of Famer, Rutledge, internally announced his retiremen...

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