Wild Turkey expanding its coop

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Jimmy Russell, the iconic master distiller at the Wild Turkey bourbon distillery, says its latest project is "building inventory for way down the road."

Wild Turkey is planning to invest $30 million in the brand’s distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY, on the banks of the Kentucky River. That would more than double its annual production capacity to nearly 11 million gallons.

The first visible step was a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 4. The target for completion of the work is the fall of 2009. New mash cookers, fermenters and a second copper still will be installed. Consumer won't see the first bourbon produced by the new equipment until it has aged eight years.

The expansion follows expansion efforts by the state's major bourbon makers. For example, Fortune Brands, which owns Maker’s Mark and Jim Beam, is in the midst of a $120 million campaign to upgrade its distilling, aging and bottling operations.

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