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Wild Turkey to open $161m distillery

Campari Group will invest US$161 million to open a second distillery for Wild Turkey Bourbon in Kentucky, US.

Wild Turkey Bourbon is the sixth-largest American whiskey brand in the world

The new distillery will increase Wild Turkey’s production capacity from nine million proof gallons to 14m proof gallons. It will be located adjacent to the existing Wild Turkey distillery in Lawrenceburg.

Furthermore, the project will expand the waste treatment dry house process to increase processing capacity, doubling the current dry house and waste treatment output.

Campari Group will also upgrade the current barrel filling operation to handle the increased volumes.

The project provides more than US$300m in operation and expansion investments from Campari Group since its acquisition of Wild Turkey in 2009.

The new site is expected to break ground by October 2023 and is due to be completed by the end of July 2025.

The expansion project comes six months after Campari Group agreed to purchase a 70% stake in Kentucky-based Wilderness Trail Distillery.

“We are delighted to announce this important investment and we appreciate the support received by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the local authorities,” said Ugo Fiorenzo, managing director of Campari America and Canada.

“Since 2009, when Campari Group acquired the Wild Turkey Distillery, we have significantly invested in the Bourbon category, which now represents Campari Group’s second major leg after the apéritif portfolio.

“This expansion project confirms, once again, our commitment to this category and it will allow for the continued growth of the Wild Turkey and Russell’s Reserve franchise, both in the United States and internationally.”

The new facility will create 31 jobs.

Since the start of governor Andy Beshear’s administration in 2019, Kentucky’s spirits industry has seen approximately 80 new location or expansion projects totalling over US$3 billion in planned investments and creating more than 1,450 announced full-time jobs.

Last year marked the best 12 months on record for the state’s spirits industry, with US$2.1bn in new investments expected to create 700 full-time jobs.

Aperol owner Campari Group is the sixth-largest spirits company in the world. The Italian group owns 23 plants globally with its own distribution network in 23 countries.

Wild Turkey is the world’s sixth-largest American whiskey, according to Brand Champions 2022 data. It sold 1.8m nine-litre cases in 2021.

Campari Group’s CEO is open to further acquisitions in American whiskey and “very interested” in growing its Mexican portfolio, he told The Spirits Business in November.

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