Expansion to create 62 jobs, entail $44 million investment in Lawrenceburg
LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (March 29, 2012) – Governor Steve Beshear Thursday joined community leaders and company officials from Wild Turkey brand-owner Gruppo Campari at the Wild Turkey® Distillery to break ground on an all new 125,000 sq. ft. packaging facility on the company’s Lawrenceburg site.
The new packaging facility will open in the fall of 2013 and will allow Wild Turkey to have full control of its entire production, from distilling to aging to bottling, all in Lawrenceburg, where the famous brand traces its roots to the 1800s. The project, announced earlier this year, will create up to 62 new jobs and result in an up to $44 million investment by the company.
“This is an exciting time for Kentucky and the Wild Turkey Distillery, one that will add dozens of new jobs in the central Kentucky area,” Gov. Beshear said. “Here’s a Kentucky product that has stood the test of time and continues to grow even more popular and marketable every day. The success of Wild Turkey is a testament to the enduring dedication and pride of its Kentucky workforce.”
Wild Turkey began in the mid-19th century, when a wholesale grocer, Austin Nichols Company, began selling bourbon made by the Ripy family who lived on ‘Wild Turkey Hill’ in Lawrenceburg. In 1980, French-based spirits company Pernod-Ricard bought Austin Nichols and later sold it (and the Wild Turkey brand) in 2009 to Italian-based Gruppo Campari.
Wild Turkey currently sells about one million 9-liter cases worldwide annually, but the new facility has been designed to package more than four million cases a year, including the bottling needs of Gruppo Campari’s largest U.S.-distilled brand, SKYY® Vodka. Increased demand for bourbon led Gruppo Campari to invest $50 million on a Wild Turkey distillery expansion in 2011, which at the time, doubled the facility’s annual capacity. Warehouse expansions, totaling $7 million, were also announced over the past three years.
“We see a real future in Wild Turkey and in the people of the great Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Gruppo Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz. “Since we purchased the Wild Turkey brand in 2009, we have dedicated about $100 million in the distilling, warehousing and packaging operations in Lawrenceburg to support the growth of our Wild Turkey Bourbon products, not just in the U.S., but around the world.”
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the packaging facility project for tax incentives up to $2 million through the Kentucky Business Investment (KBI) program and up to $350,000 in Kentucky sales tax refunds through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act.
“I am excited that Wild Turkey is 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.”
“Today marks a great day for Anderson County and one of Kentucky’s signature industries,” said Rep. Kim King, of Harrodsburg. “Anytime we can create new jobs and new economic development opportunities for our county is a great thing, and I applaud Wild Turkey’s decision as a good corporate citizen to expand their Anderson County operations.”
“We are thrilled to be joining Wild Turkey in the celebration of this new expansion,” said Lawrenceburg Mayor Edwinna Baker. “We are very excited that they have chosen to bring the packaging operation home to Lawrenceburg. Through their commitment to invest up to $44 million on this expansion project and the creation of up to 62 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.”
“Anderson County is grateful to Wild Turkey for its investments of over $50 million in the state-of-the-art distillery, and now the new expansion for bottling and packaging operation of up to $44 million,” said Anderson County Judge-Executive John Wayne Conway. “Thanks to Gruppo Campari for its investment in Wild Turkey and Anderson County.”
For more information on Wild Turkey, visit www.wildturkey.com.