Double Trouble as Wild Turkey Expands

27 June, 2011 by

By Andrew Starke

The doubling of production capacity at the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, has been completed with the new expansion officially opened on Friday (June 26).

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The Governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, joined Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell (below with son Eddie Russell) and executives from brand owner Gruppo Campari at a ceremony to unveil the state’s first major distillery expansion in decades.

First announced in 2007, the expansion plans initially didn’t get beyond site preparation as owner Pernod Ricard put the project on hold after deciding to sell Wild Turkey.

Gruppo Campari, which acquired the Wild Turkey business in 2009, completed the work and now intends to develop the family of brands in its international distribution network.

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.”

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 for Australia include the iconic Wild Turkey 101, Wild Turkey 86.8, Wild Turkey Rye, Rare Breed, Russell’s Reserve and American Honey.

“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, 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.”

Earlier this month, Wild Turkey relaunched its RTD range to the Australian market with bold new packaging, refined formulations and a new 101 Premium product.