Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Wild Turkey (bourbon)

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Proof (US)
80, 81, 86.8, 101, 108.2

+1 502-839-2182


Country of origin
Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, United States

wild turkey 101Wild Turkey 81Wild Turkey RyeAmerican HoneyWild Turkey Rare BreedRussell's Reserve 6, 10Russell's Reserve Single BarrelKentucky SpiritWild Turkey 86.8Wild Turkey 8, 12

1417 Versailles Rd, Lawrenceburg, KY 40342, USA

Closed now Sunday11AM–4PMMonday9AM–5PMTuesday9AM–5PMWednesday9AM–5PMThursday9AM–5PMFriday9AM–5PMSaturday9AM–5PMSuggest an edit

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Wild Turkey is a brand of Kentucky straight Bourbon whiskey distilled and bottled by the Austin Nichols division of Campari Group. The distillery is located near Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. It offers tours, and is part of the American Whiskey Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.



In 1891, Thomas Ripy built the Old Hickory Distillery in Tyrone, Kentucky, near Lawrenceburg, on the former site of the Old Moore Distillery. After Prohibition, the Ripy family (Thomas had died in 1902) repaired the distillery and began to again produce bourbon. The Ripys sold the bourbon produced at this distillery to various wholesalers who bottled bourbon under their own brands. Austin Nichols was one of these wholesalers. The Ripys were bought out in 1949 by Robert and Alvin Gould.

Austin Nichols began to bottle Wild Turkey in 1942. For the next three decades, Austin Nichols remained a non-distiller producer - bottling bourbon purchased on the open market under their Wild Turkey brand. Much of this whiskey was purchased from the Ripys' distillery in Tyrone.

In 1971, Austin Nichols purchased the Ripys' distillery in Tyrone, KY (then known as the Boulevard Distillery). The name was changed to the Wild Turkey Distillery.

In 1980, the distillery and the Wild Turkey brand were purchased by Pernod Ricard.

In 2009, the Campari Group acquired the distillery and the Wild Turkey brand from Pernod Ricard.

In 2011, Wild Turkey began to be distilled at a newly constructed facility near the old distillery. The new distillery sits where the old bottling facility was previously located.

In 2013, Campari opened a new bottling facility at the Wild Turkey Distillery. For the previous 13 years Wild Turkey had been bottled offsite in Indiana and, later, Arkansas.

Origin of name

The legend of the origin of the "Wild Turkey" brand is that Thomas McCarthy took some warehouse samples on a wild turkey hunting trip in 1940. The bourbon proved such a hit that his friends continued to ask him for "that wild turkey bourbon."


Campari bottles bourbon and rye under the "Wild Turkey" and the "Russel's Reserve" brands.

Current bottlings

Its current offerings under the "Wild Turkey" brand are:

  • Wild Turkey 81 Proof
  • Wild Turkey 81 Proof Rye
  • Wild Turkey 101 Proof
  • Wild Turkey 101 Proof Rye
  • Wild Turkey Rare Breed (a barrel proof blend of 6, 8 and 12-year-old stocks)
  • Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit (a single barrel 101 proof bourbon)
  • Its current offerings under the "Russel's Reserve" brand are:

  • Russel's Reserve 10 year (90 proof)
  • Russel's Reserve Rye 6 Year (90 proof)
  • Russel's Reserve Single Barrel Rye (104 proof)
  • Russel's Reserve Single Barrel (110 proof)
  • Rye shortage

    Wild Turkey Rye 101 was absent from the market for about a year during 2012-2013 due to unexpected demand and then resurfaced in November 2013.


    Wild Turkey 101 earned an 'Editor's Choice' award from Whisky Magazine., aggregator of reviews from various "expert" bodies, places the 101 Single Barrel in the 97th percentile of all rated bourbons.

    Warehouse fire

    On May 9, 2000, a fire destroyed a seven-story aging warehouse at the company in Anderson County, Kentucky. It contained more than 17,000 wooden barrels of whiskey. Burning whiskey flowed from the warehouse, setting the woods on fire, causing limestone deposits to explode. Firefighters saved Lawrenceburg's water treatment plant from destruction. However, an estimated 20% of the whiskey flowed into the Kentucky River. The river contamination required the temporary shutdown of the water treatment plant. Officials ordered water usage restrictions. Businesses and schools were closed because of the water shortage. The alcohol spill also depleted the oxygen in the river, killing an estimated 228,000 fish along a 66-mile stretch. The EPA and the Coast Guard's Gulf Strike Team aerated the river using equipment mounted on barges. The company paid $256,000 to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife in an effort to restore the fish population in the river.

    Product theft

    In March 2015, Buffalo Trace employee Gilbert 'Toby' Curtsinger, was arrested by Franklin County authorities when five barrels of stolen Wild Turkey Bourbon were found on his property. On April 21, 2015, nine Kentucky residents, three of whom were employees at both Wild Turkey and Buffalo Trace, were indicted for thefts at the Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey distilleries dating back to 2008. Over $100,000 worth of the stolen whiskey was recovered, including more than two dozen bottles of Pappy Van Winkle and 15 barrels of Wild Turkey.

    The heists included Pappy Van Winkle (more than two score cases), 50 to 70 cases of Eagle Rare bourbon and other stolen barrels of whiskey that are still missing. The warrants recovered one barrel of 17-year-old Eagle Rare worth more than $11,000, All nine defendants are charged with being members of a criminal syndicate, engaging in organized crime.

    As illegal steroid sales were involved, there were also a number of other charges. It was an inside job which was linked to illegal trafficking in steroids. Sheriff Melton said this "Bourbon Syndicate" had met in a softball league with Curtsinger being the ringleader. Additional indictments continue to appear. Some of the suspects have plead guilty, while others are cooperating with authorities.

    "Give 'em the Bird" promotional campaign

    In 2011, an advertisement video called "Give 'em the Bird" was featured on the product's web site, Facebook page, and YouTube page that prominently included a middle finger gesture and referred to other (non-existing) advertising videos featuring a nun and an adult blow-up doll.

    In August 2011, the review board of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), of which Campari USA is a member, ruled that the advertisement violated the council's code of ethical practices and said that "the gesture is indecent and the advertisement fails to meet contemporary standards of good taste". According to DISCUS, the company disagreed with the board's interpretation but agreed to withdraw the advertisement.

    The Australian version of the advertisement features the famous rock musician (and self-confessed former alcoholic) Jimmy Barnes.

    Since then, the company has continued to use the "Give 'em the Bird" slogan and middle finger gesturing in additional advertising and promotional activities. In November, 2012, Jimmy Russell, the Wild Turkey Master Distiller, publicly called for U.S. President Barack Obama to "Give us the bird", as a way of offering to provide a home for that year's White House Thanksgiving Day turkey (which is traditionally "pardoned" by the president) – saying the turkey would become the brand's official "spokesbird".

    Matthew McConaughey campaign

    In 2016, Matthew McConaughey was hired as creative director and celebrity spokesman for Wild Turkey's latest campaign, to bring in more women and more international customers.

    Although in recent years Wild Turkey has gained a more sophisticated reputation, its prior reputation for being an inexpensive, highly-alcoholic product had the bourbon showing up in popular culture often, usually to suggest a rough, macho persona; a person who has fallen on hard times; or even a person with "white trash" traits.


    Wild Turkey is known for being a favorite drink of journalist Hunter S. Thompson, and is mentioned in his 1972 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (as well as the film of the same name), and the 1973 book Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. In Stephen King's book It, when asked what the bar whiskey is, the bartender replies, "For everyone else in this dump it's Four Roses, but for you I think it's Wild Turkey." David Foster Wallace's novel Infinite Jest has James Incandenza as an alcoholic filmmaker and tennis academy head who drinks Wild Turkey, as well as being referenced as Wallace's drink of choice in his biography, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story. In Scott Sigler's science fiction book Infected, main character Perry Dawsey is described several times as drinking Wild Turkey. In Patrick Neate's 2004 book "City of Tiny Lights" the private investigator anti-hero and narrator of the tale, Tommy Akhtar, subsists on a diet of mostly Wild Turkey and Benson and Hedges cigarettes, referring to them as "Benny and the Turk". In Adrian Edmondson's 1995 novel "The Gobbler", the hard-drinking central protagonist, Julian Mann, has a penchant for Wild Turkey, particularly in combination with pints of lager.


    The bourbon is the drink of choice for characters in Rambo: First Blood Part II and The Cassandra Crossing (which are both directed by George Pan Cosmatos), Rush, "Mystic River (film)", In the Heat of the Night (film), Silver Bullet, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Bad Lieutenant, Barb Wire, The Eiger Sanction, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Punisher, Where the Buffalo Roam, and The Guardian. It is also referenced in numerous films, including The Color of Money, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, With Honors, Thelma & Louise, Death Proof, Monster's Ball, Freddy Got Fingered, Out Cold, Crazy Heart, Cookie's Fortune, Frankenhooker, Trees Lounge and Tammy.


    NCIS and Justified routinely shows characters with a bottle of the product, and on occasion television shows have made references to it, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer (episode "Beer Bad"), The Sopranos (season 3, episode 10), Seinfeld (season 7, episode "The Hot Tub", also season 5's episode "The Dinner Party" shows George holding a bottle), Trigun, True Blood (season 3, episode "Beautifully Broken"), "Frasier" (season 2, episode "Roz in the Doghouse"), "A Very Peculiar Practice" (season 2, episode "May the Force Be with You"), and Will & Grace (season 7), and "Married... with Children" (season 8, episode "Nooner or Nothing"). On the season 2 episode "Sweetums" of Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson mentions his old man used to put Wild Turkey on his Cornflakes, while explaining why his family has a preternaturally high tolerance for alcohol. The title character in "Jessica Jones" is frequently shown drinking from a bottle of Wild Turkey 101.


    "Wild Turkey" was the title of a 1982 top-ten country single for singer Lacy J. Dalton (the song employed the names of various whiskies as nicknames for drunken patrons in a bar).


    Wild Turkey (bourbon) Wikipedia

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