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From the Salt River to Four Roses Bourbon

blog | 07/10/2020

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We take pride in our efforts to promote and contribute to the vital mission of environmental conservation at Four Roses. Three years ago, we formed the Creating Shared Value (CSV) Committee. Part of the CSV Committee’s mission was to focus on environmental friendliness, targeted to the most important natural resource in the Bourbon industry–water.

This month, we decided to take a closer look at the importance of preserving this valuable resource, and the role that fresh, limestone-rich water plays in the process of handcrafting our award-winning Bourbon.

We sat down with Frank Corea, plant engineer at Four Roses, to see what he had to say:

“Water is used in just about every step of the distilling process and the Salt River that flows beside the Distillery in Lawrenceburg is the primary water source that goes into making all of our Bourbon products.

“More specifically, water from the Salt River is (1) used as process water that becomes Bourbon, (2) used to heat mash cookers and stills through the boiler, and (3) used to cool equipment and product during the various stages of production, called non-contact cooling water.”

You can find more information on our process here.

Frank went on to explain that the CSV Committee focuses primarily on two things in relation to water conservation: how much water is being used in the distilling process, and how Four Roses is protecting the Salt River.

To minimize water usage, we at Four Roses decided to tackle the biggest use, non-contact cooling water. Water used for non-contact cooling is only used one time and then it is discharged back into the Salt River at a slightly elevated temperature. The Distillery expansion project, completed in spring 2019, not only allowed us to expand production capacity, but also allowed us to incorporate a new water chilling system so that less water could be used from the Salt River. This chilling system allows us to re-use the cooling water and minimize the amount pulled from the river to accomplish the cooling needs of the Distillery. 

Without protecting our water source, we may not have water to use. This year marks the fourth annual Salt River Clean Up at the Distillery, an event where Four Roses employees volunteer to remove debris along the river, targeting areas around the dam and concrete area, as well as along the bridge and the highway where it forks on each side of the river. We look forward to this annual event and are committed to preserving our water from the Salt River today, tomorrow and in the future.

For more information on our commitment as a community partner, visit

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