Gruppo Campari to open $40+ million bottling facility at Wild Turkey distillery
Lawrenceburg, ky, February 23, 2012 - Gruppo Campari (Reuters CPRI.MI - Bloomberg CPR IM) announced today its plan to build a new packaging facility at their famous Wild Turkey® site in Lawrenceburg to which the Commonwealth of Kentucky confirmed its enthusiastic support. This morning, the Commonwealth preliminarily approved up to $2.35 million in economic incentives to help create jobs through the up to $44 million construction project, which will provide full bottling and packaging capabilities for all of Gruppo Campari’s US-distilled spirits brands, including not only the Wild Turkey Whiskey line, but SKYY® Vodka as well.
“This is a major milestone for the Wild Turkey distillery and two of Gruppo Campari’s biggest growth engines,” said Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Gruppo Campari. “This gives us the ownership of the full production process for our Wild Turkey brands - from distilling to aging to bottling - all in one location, while also housing the packaging of our largest US-based brand, SKYY Vodka. We are very pleased to be working cooperatively with the Commonwealth on this important project.”
Slated to open in fall of 2013, the new Wild Turkey Distillery packaging facility is designed to initially handle up to four million nine-liter cases of product annually and has the capacity to support the Company’s North American packaging platform well into the future, addressing the growth of Wild Turkey, Wild Turkey American Honey®, Russell’s Reserve®, Rare Breed® Bourbon, and SKYY Vodka in the US and around the globe.
The Wild Turkey Distillery did previously house its own packaging capabilities, but those were discontinued by the brand’s previous owner in 2006. The new facility will provide cost efficiencies, improved customer service, and added production flexibility through in-sourcing the company’s packaging needs.
“I couldn’t be more delighted that our new owner, Gruppo Campari, has recognized the need for us to have full control of the production of Wild Turkey,” said Jimmy Russell, Master Distiller and Bourbon Hall of Famer. “It demonstrates their dedication not just to our fine Bourbon and Rye Whiskies, but also to the people of Kentucky, as we look to bring more jobs and tax revenue to this great Commonwealth.”
“Distilling contributes about $2 billion dollars annually to Kentucky’s gross state product,” said Commonwealth of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. “The investment Gruppo Campari is making recently in Lawrenceburg is significant and will help bolster our economy even more. As companies like Gruppo Campari introduce Bourbon to the world, they will also be introducing them to the great Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
Since purchasing the brand in 2009, Gruppo Campari has made a major financial commitment to the distillery’s operations and its employees. In 2011, the Company unveiled a $50 million expansion at the distillery, more than doubling the plant’s production capabilities. This was coupled with the opening of multiple new barrel warehouses over the past several years. Gruppo Campari’s up to $44 million investment in the new packaging facility would be spread out over three years.
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 one million nine liter cases worldwide, with strong growth in the US, Australia, Canada, and Japan. Wild Turkey is the sixth largest global bourbon brand (excluding sales of American Honey). Wild Turkey and SKYY Vodka are both distributed and marketed through Campari America in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Further information on the investment project will be provided within the announcement of the Group’s 2011 full year results on March 12, 2012.