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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Distillery

Austin, Nichols Distilling CO.

1525 Tyrone Road

Lawrenceburg, KY 40342


Mon-Sat, 9am-3pm EST,- Sun 12pm-3pm EST (Mar-Nov only). Tours offered on the hour.


Closed on all major holidays.

Please Confirm with  the distillery before Travelling

(502) 839-2182 for more information.

Wild Turkey is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. Using only natural processes aged in new white oak barrels gives a deep russet colour while carrying full flavours of vanilla and smooth caramel. Legendary Master Distiller, Jimmy Russell Joined the company in 1954 and his son Eddie Associate Distiller followed in 1981are the human face of this renowned brand.


Using the same tried and true methods with a little bit of innovation, Wild Turkey is a true American icon, always bearing the mantle of tradition with grace and a noble heritage, that through its distilling, barrelling, aging, and bottling process maximizes the flavour experience.


Under the leadership of Jimmy, the Wild Turkey Bourbon line has grown immensely. Complementing the classic Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, five variations of the brand now exist:


Rare Breed, Kentucky Spirit, Wild Turkey 80, Wild Turkey Rye and American Honey. Russell‟s Reserve and Russell‟s Reserve Rye, named after Jimmy Russell, though not part of the Wild Turkey range, are produced at the Wild Turkey Distillery.



1840s, the origins of the Wild Turkey Bourbon Distillery began to form when James and John Ripy arrived in Kentucky from Tyrone, Ireland, and opened a store selling general goods.


The Ripys settled beneath the towering limestone cliffs along the Kentucky River in the shadow of what is now called Wild Turkey Hill and christened the plot “Tyrone.” The huddle of log cabins became the site of their first distillery with a capacity for mashing 100 bushels of corn per day.


1855 This is the foundation date on Wild Turkey whiskey labels,  merchant  Austin Nichols starts selling wine and spirits as a wholesale grocer. This  business he starts goes on later to own Wild Turkey and is still recorded as part of the label.


1869 The Ripy brothers expand  their family distillery on Wild Turkey Hill in Lawrenceburg, KY.


By 1873, the Ripys had a new distillery building. Capacity rose to 600 bushels and then to 1,200 bushels per day. “The whiskey made at the Ripy Distillery has been tested and endorsed in almost every village and hamlet of the land,” The Anderson News proudly announced—a boast made true in 1893 when the Ripys‟ whiskey was selected from over 400 other whiskeys to represent Kentucky at that years World’s Fair Exposition.


The business grew steadily until the advent of Prohibition (18th Amendment) in 1919, when America‟s distilleries closed down. Many would never reopen. However


the Ripy Distillery continued a moderate production for medicinal uses, which was sold on by Austin, Nichols, the distillery struggled onto survive until 1933 when Congress enacted the 21st Amendment and repealed Prohibition.


After the repeal the distillery underwent modernization and six years later, Austin, Nichols & Company disposed of  its wholesale grocery business to concentrate on fine wines and spirits.


In 1940, Austin, Nichols executive Thomas McCarthy inadvertently established the Wild Turkey Bourbon brand name. An avid sportsman, McCarthy gathered with friends each year for a wild turkey hunt on a South Carolina estate. McCarthy, who was asked to bring the whiskey, pulled a sample of undiluted 101 proof from the warehouse. The following year, his friends insisted he bring more of “that wild turkey bourbon.” McCarthy, a businessman with a background in marketing, realized he had a winning product and soon began to market Wild Turkey Bourbon


1954 Master Distiller Jimmy Russell joins Wild Turkey.


1976 Wild Turkey’s first liqueur is introduced.


1980 Pernod Richard, which ranks second behind Diageo among the world’s liquor distributors, acquired Wild Turkey when it bought Austin Nichols & Company for $100 million.


1981 Associate Master Distiller Eddie Russell, Jimmy’s Son, joins Wild Turkey.


1991 Rare Breed, a premium barrel-proof bourbon, is introduced.


1995 Kentucky Spirit, a single-barrel, 101-proof bourbon, is released.


2000 Jimmy Russell is inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame.


2004 Jimmy Russell celebrates his 50th year at the Wild Turkey distillery


2006 American Honey, a liqueur with real Wild Turkey Bourbon and pure American Honey, is introduced.


2007 American Spirit, a 15-year-old bourbon, is released in honor of National Bourbon Heritage Month.


(January 5, 2010) – Gov. Steve Beshear and Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes  announced that Rare Breed Distilling will construct a new 20,000 space barrel storage warehouse at its Wild Turkey® distillery in Lawrenceburg


2009 Italy's Campari buys  The Wild Turkey bourbon brand from the French drinks group Pernod Ricard in a $575m (£391m) deal – the biggest acquisition in Campari's history


2010 Eddie Russell is inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame


2011 Eddie Russell introduces Wild Turkey 81.


Feb. 23, 2012 – Governor Steve Beshear  announced Gruppo Campari plans to invest approximately $44 million to build a new packaging facility at the famous Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, The expansion entails the hiring of up to 62 employees.


August 28, 2012   Campari continues expansion of Wild Turkey® Distillery, with the construction of a new $4 Million Visitor Centre both the

Commonwealth of Kentucky and Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Tour to Benefit from New Tourism Attraction Estimated to Bring 70,000 Visitors Per Year to Bourbon Country