The plant was opened by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Gruppo Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz. They were joined by Wild Turkey master distiller Jimmy Russell. The facility is part of a three-year $100m investment.
Beshear said: “Kentucky’s Bourbon industry has been growing at a rapid pace, with production of our native spirit up more than 120% in the last decade and 5m barrels currently aging in the Commonwealth.”
“The significant investment Gruppo Campari has made at the Wild Turkey Distillery, including the $43m packaging facility, will not only help grow that number through worldwide expansion of the bourbon category, but will also create valuable jobs for the people of our great Commonwealth (of Kentucky).”
The facility will create more than 60 jobs in the area and provides bottling and packaging capabilities for all of Campari’s US distilled spirits brands, including the Wild Turkey and the company’s largest US based brand – Skyy vodka.
With more than 145,000 square-feet of space, the packaging facility will initially handle up to 4m 9-litre cases annually, but has the capability and capacity to support Campari’s North American packaging needs well into the future.
The company says the facility addresses the growth of Wild Turkey, Wild Turkey American Honey, Wild Turkey Spiced, Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, Russell’s Reserve, Rare Breed Bourbon, and Skyy domestically and globally.
“After a seven year absence, we are pleased to bring packaging capabilities back to the Wild Turkey distillery for two of Gruppo Campari’s biggest and fastest growing brands,” said Kunze-Concewitz.
“By owning the full production process for all of our Wild Turkey brands, we can be more nimble in meeting the growing worldwide demand for not only Wild Turkey, but also Skyy.”
Campari bought the brand in 2009. In 2011, it unveiled a $50m expansion at the distillery, more than doubling the plant’s production capabilities. Next year, Wild Turkey will have a new state-of-the-art visitor centre.
Campari says the popularity of Kentucky’s native spirit has exploded worldwide, with demand for Wild Turkey at its highest level in history. The Wild Turkey brand currently sells more than 1m 9-litre cases worldwide (IMPACT Databank), with strong growth in the US, Australia, Canada, and Japan.
Wild Turkey claims to be the sixth largest global bourbon brand (excluding sales of American Honey).