The Wild Turkey Distillery

Old Wild Turkey Distillery

Founded in 1869…

The original Ripy family distillery was founded in 1869 on Wild Turkey Hill in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky USA. After prohibition ended in 1933, the original Ripy Distillery went through a modernisation program and started producing fine Kentucky Bourbon once again. In 1940 the now famous ‘Wild Turkey’ brand name was invented after a distillery executive named Thomas MCarthey took a supply of fine bourbon on a Wild Turkey hunting trip with a group of friends. They enjoyed the drink so much the brand was born.

The distillery is situated on a deep limestone shelf on the Kentucky River. This layer of limestone serves as natural filter and provides the distillery with crystal clear water. Master Distiller, Jimmy Russell, says the purity of the water they use is vital to making such a high quality product. That said, Jimmy is more likely to be seen tasting the bourbon at the distillery than the local water…

Expanded in 2010…

In 2007 Wild Turkey announced plans to build a new and larger distillery on its site in Anderson County to keep pace with projected increases in the global demand for its products. The new distillery is nearing completion and scheduled to begin operation in late 2011.

The upgraded distillery will include a new storage warehouse capable of holding 20,000 barrels. This new US$2.3m facility will add to Wild Turkey’s storage capacity for its maturing bourbon products and enable the brand to keep up with our ever-growing demand into the future. Even though the new distillery now includes modern equipment, Master Distiller, Jimmy Russell, reminds visitors that many aspects of fine bourbon making will always be low tech.

Coming to Kentucky USA? We’d love to meet you…

The Wild Turkey Distillery is a genuine, working distillery and we take pride in being able to walk our visitors through the production process. We conduct free tours of the distillery where you’ll see the mash being made, the original fermentation room where 70-year-old cypress tanks stand next to modern stainless steel ones (the old tanks will be used as long as possible). You also see the barrels being filled and stored right through to the final bottling of our aged bourbon. Our tours run every day apart from Sunday and we’d love to give a special welcome to our friends from Australia!

Step by Step

Making premium straight bourbon takes several stages, plus a lot of patience and skill.


We abide by the traditional sour-mash methods to give Wild Turkey its legendary flavour.


Part industrial process, part gut instinct, Jimmy Russell shares his distillation knowledge.


Waiting for a batch of Wild Turkey to mature, takes a lot of patience. Years in fact…