Wild Turkey Unveils First Major Kentucky Distillery Expansion
LAWRENCEBURG, KY – Wild Turkey is spreading its wings. The honorable Governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, joined famed Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell and executives from brand owner Gruppo Campari at a ceremony in Lawrenceburg to unveil the state’s first major distillery expansion in decades. Representing a potential boon for the local economy and the tourism industry, the new $50 million distillery will allow Wild Turkey to double its production to meet the growing global demand for its iconic Bourbon and rye whiskies.
“The Wild Turkey Distillery has a distinguished history with the Commonwealth and an even brighter future with the announcement of its recent expansion plans,” Gov. Beshear said. “This company displays its Kentucky roots proudly, and its investment in Kentucky has reaped great success and respect worldwide. This expansion will not only bring the potential of more jobs to our Kentucky families but will also bring continued stability and longevity to this remarkable business.”
The new 134,000 square foot facility expansion makes Wild Turkey not only one of the biggest whiskey distilleries in Kentucky, but in all of North America. It is capable of producing up to 11 million proof gallons of liquid annually, up from the 5 million proof gallons of the previous distillery which was first put into operation back in 1869.
“I was surprised to learn that no major distillery expansion had occurred in Kentucky for several decades,” said Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Gruppo Campari. “This project reflects the confidence we have in the growth prospects of the iconic Wild Turkey family of brands. We are pleased our distillery expansion will not only be able to meet the increased demand for this great product, but that it will also bring potential economic benefits to the people of the area and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
Wild Turkey Bourbon is a leading premium bourbon in the United States, Australia and Japan. Gruppo Campari, which acquired the Wild Turkey business in 2009, intends to develop the family of brands in its international distribution network.
“This expansion celebrates every individual who has ever worked at our distillery and helped us to craft Wild Turkey Bourbon,” said Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, the Bourbon legend with 57 years of experience, who played an active role in the planning of the facility. “This fine new home of ours means that we’ll continue to raise the profile of Bourbon, creating more of the Wild Turkey that you know and love, and bringing this little piece of Kentucky to more people around the world.”
The expansion of the Wild Turkey distillery is just one piece of news coming out of Bourbon Country this month for the brand. Wild Turkey also recently announced the birth of Wild Turkey 81 in the United States - a new, mixable Bourbon from Jimmy’s son, Associate Distiller and fellow Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Famer Eddie Russell. In addition, the entire Wild Turkey line in the United States will get a packaging refresh as well as a new marketing campaign called “Give ’em the Bird,” which folks can now see at www.facebook.com/wildturkey. Also, in Australia, the brand is getting a packaging upgrade, new advertising and a new premium brand added to its ready-to-drink product line.
The new distillery features multiple upgrades, including improved emissions controls, water recycling and a renewable fuel system. The first aged Wild Turkey from the new distillery will be available to whiskey fans in 2016. The brands produced at the Wild Turkey distillery include the iconic Wild Turkey 101, Wild Turkey 81, Wild Turkey Rye, Rare Breed, Kentucky Spirit, Russell’s Reserve, and American Honey. Wild Turkey is distributed in the United States by Skyy Spirits.
More than 200 people were in attendance to raise a glass to Wild Turkey’s milestone including Governor Beshear; Lawrenceburg Mayor Edwinna Baker; Gruppo Campari’s Chairman, Luca Garavoglia, and CEO, Bob Kunze-Concewitz; Skyy Spirits CEO and Chairman, Gerry Ruvo; and many other industry partners.