One of the strongest Bourbon brands, Wild Turkey will be sold for $575 million to an Italian spirits company, Gruppo Campari it will be announced soon has been announced.
Wild Turkey has been owned for almost thirty years by French liquor giant Pernod Ricard SA
The French company has been selling off brands that do not fit with their strategic cluster of spirits to pay down a $1.3 billion debt. Pernod’s brands include Chivas Regal Scotch and Beefeater gin.
Campari, known for their Skyy vodka, makes several whiskeys, but not a bourbon, and wanted to add a strong new brand to their line up.
Wild Turkey is an icon that was founded in 1855. Sales of Wild Turkey rose about 6% last year, but still well short of Brown Forman Corp.’s Jack Daniel’s and Fortune Brands Jim Beam Bourbon.
The price paid for the company was higher than most analysts predicted indicating the strong global demand for Bourbon.
Wild Turkey’s master distiller, Jimmy Russell has been with the company since 1954 and currently is a director for the Kentucky Distiller’s Association and serves as a world-wide ambassador for Kentucky’s best export. He also is “training” his son, Eddie, who has been with the distiller for “only” 27 years to step in to his place when the time is right.