Cabinet for Economic Development
Gov. Beshear Announces Major Expansion for Wild Turkey Distillery
Global force in bourbon industry to invest up to $44 million, add up to 62 jobs
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 23, 2012) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced Gruppo Campari plans to invest approximately $44 million to build a new packaging facility at the famous Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, where the iconic whiskey brand was born back in the mid-19th century. The expansion entails the hiring of up to 62 employees.
The new facility is expected to be completed in 2013, giving brand owner Gruppo Campari full control over the Wild Turkey® brand’s entire production from distilling to aging to bottling, all in Kentucky. In addition, Gruppo Campari’s largest U.S.-based brand, SKYY® Vodka, will also be bottled at the facility.
“Kentucky’s bourbon industry is renowned worldwide,” Gov. Beshear said. “We’re proud of Wild Turkey’s rich tradition and long-standing commitment to Kentucky. A Kentucky family first built a distillery in Lawrenceburg back in 1869, and now, nearly a century and a half later, Wild Turkey is still providing a livelihood for Kentucky families.”
Wild Turkey traces its roots to the 1800s, when a wholesale grocer, Austin Nichols Company, began specializing in bourbon made by the Lawrenceburg Ripy family. In 1980, French-based spirits company Pernod-Ricard bought Austin Nichols and opened Wild Turkey Bourbon to an international exporting network. In 2009, Pernod-Ricard sold Austin Nichols and the Wild Turkey brand to Italian-based Gruppo Campari, which has been steadily investing in the brand and the distillery.
The Wild Turkey brand sells one million 9-liter cases worldwide. The product line includes Wild Turkey 101, Wild Turkey 81, Wild Turkey 81 Rye, Russell’s Reserve® Bourbon, Russell’s Reserve Rye, Kentucky Spirit®, Rare Breed® Bourbon and Wild Turkey American Honey®. Demand for Wild Turkey is at its highest level in history. The high demand led Wild Turkey to invest $50 million on a distillery expansion unveiled last year, doubling the facility’s annual capacity.
“We are very proud to be working so closely with the Commonwealth on the new Wild Turkey packaging facility in Lawrenceburg,” said Gruppo Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz. “The incentives and tax benefits the Commonwealth is affording us on this project clearly demonstrate the passion we both have for not only producing an outstanding Kentucky-born product, but providing quality jobs and other economic benefits to the community.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in Lawrenceburg, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
KEDFA also approved Wild Turkey for tax benefits up to $350,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA), which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.
“This is exciting because Gruppo Campari and Wild Turkey are further investing in the community and creating new opportunities,” said Sen. Julian M. Carroll, of Frankfort. “The community, along with the surrounding counties, will reap the rewards of economic growth and jobs with the company’s new packaging facility. I also applaud Gov. Beshear for taking the lead to support our industry, their employees, and their families.”
“Anytime we can create new jobs and new opportunities for the people of Anderson County, it is a plus for our local economy and the Commonwealth as a whole,” said Rep. Kim King, of Harrodsburg. “I applaud this investment and the employment it will create when the packaging facility is up and running. I also applaud the continued economic and community partnership between the owners of this facility, Gruppo Campari, and the people of Anderson County.”
“Wild Turkey has been a strong economical partner for our community since 1869, and we are very excited that they have chosen to bring the packaging operation home to Lawrenceburg,” said Lawrenceburg Mayor Edwinna Baker. “In these difficult financial times, communities rarely find reason for great celebration. Through their commitment to invest up to $44 million on this expansion project and the creation of 60-plus new jobs, Wild Turkey has once again provided our community an opportunity to share in the celebration of their accomplishments and future growth. The Wild Turkey brand is a true treasure to our community and the Commonwealth.”
“Wild Turkey has proven that they have always been a devoted economic partner for our community in Lawrenceburg and Anderson County. It is so exciting that Wild Turkey has chosen to continue to give back by returning the bottling and packaging operation to Anderson County,” said John Wayne Conway, Anderson County Judge-Executive. “Anderson County is grateful to Wild Turkey and Gruppo Campari for their investment of more than $40 million for the expansion project and their commitment to create as many as 62 jobs locally. We are eager to welcome home the packaging and bottling operation to Anderson County with much excitement!”
For more information on Wild Turkey, visit www.wildturkey.com.
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A detailed community profile for Lawrenceburg (Anderson County) can be viewed at http://www.thinkkentucky.com/EDIS/cmnty/index.aspx?cw=090.