Wild Turkey latest to spread its wings

Visitors check out new distillery.
LAWRENCEBURG, KY -- If you've heard about the periodic, albeit brief, shortages of bourbon in some markets, you know the demand for the iconic American spirit continues to grow.

The latest expansion in the production process went on line this week with the dedication of the expanded distillery that  produces Wild Turkey. The new $50 million distillery will be able to produce twice as much bourbon as the old one.

Eddie Russell
Kentucky produces 95% of the world's bourbon and the spirit has become globally in demand.

"The export market is so great for us," said Associate Distiller Eddie Russell, "and bourbon has had a resurgence in the U.S., so it lets us be prepared for the next 20 to 30 years."

Maker's Mark is working on a $50 million expansion that will boost production by about 50% and expand bottling capacity at its operations near Loretto, KY. It plans to build 20-25 new warehouses needed for storing barrels of whiskey that will age at least six years.

Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc., whose brands include Evan Williams bourbon, added two storage warehouses earlier this year, boosting its capacity by about 40,000 barrels at a cost of about $5 million.

Also, several bourbon makers have expanded, or are expanding, visitors facilities as whiskey tourism continues to grow.

There now are more than 4.7 million barels of bourbon aging in warehouses across the state, the highest inventory since the early 1980s.

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