The Nine Lives of One Bourbon Barrel

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The last place you might expect to discover a monument to American whiskey is in an overgrown field in the idyllic countryside of Speyside, Scotland. But if you follow a path up a woody hill, overlooking the Glenrothes distillery, in a clearing you’ll find great pyramids of used American oak barrels. The newest ones look like they could still hold whiskey, while the oldest, weather-beaten ones are losing their rusty hoops and the staves are turning into dust. Full story

Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Visits Skyrocket With 900,000 Guests in 2015

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With more distilleries participating than ever before, the world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventures set an all-time attendance record in 2015 with nearly 900,000 guests touring the best of the Bluegrass.

That means the popular tourism attraction has more than doubled its attendance in just five short years, said Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association that created the landmark journey in 1999. View full press release

Brown-Forman’s Morris named new chairman for Kentucky Distillers’ Association for 2016

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The Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced Tuesday that Master Distiller Chris Morris of Brown-Forman has been named chairman of the 136-year-old group that unites, promotes and protects the state’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.

Morris, an acknowledged authority on Bourbon and Kentucky history who is celebrating his 40th year in the industry, will serve through December 2016. The KDA Board of Directors selected officers during its annual meeting recently at the historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville. Full story

Wild Turkey® unveils bold new brand packaging across its range of products

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Wild Turkey® today debuted a new look for its premium bourbon and rye whiskey range. While making no changes to the award-winning liquid, Wild Turkey has designed new packaging for its global family of products that better reflects the core values of the historic brand. A detailed new turkey illustration, found on every expression and most prominently displayed on Wild Turkey 101, depicts a spirited bird that is authentic, proud, and bold – characteristics that have always defined the conviction at the heart of the Wild Turkey brand. Read full press release

Rye Adds an Authentic Touch to the Holidays

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Three men sitting in a Midtown Manhattan restaurant one recent afternoon represented three generations of the Kentucky clan whose hand has been on the tiller of the Wild Turkey distillery for more than half a century. There was Jimmy Russell, the legendary distiller; Eddie Russell, his son, a veteran distiller in his own right; and Bruce Russell, Eddie’s 26-year-old son, a relatively new addition to the firm. Full story

Russell’s Reserve® Unveils First Single Barrel Rye

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LAWRENCEBURG, Ky.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rye Whiskey is booming, and legendary Master Distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell are responding the only way they know how – a 104 proof, barrel-aged spice bomb like only they know how to make. Russell’s Reserve® Single Barrel Rye launches today, as the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS) reports consumer demand for Rye Whiskey is reaching a fever pitch not seen since prior to Prohibition. Continue reading

A guide to the new Kentucky bourbons being released this fall

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Every fall, bourbon lovers make a pilgrimage to Kentucky for two things: the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, which runs through Sunday in Bardstown, and the fall bourbon releases. Kentucky is ground zero for new bourbon — it’ll be released here if it’s anywhere, typically — so collectors come hoping to stock up. Bourbon sleuths scout the new labels approved by the federal government months in advance for inklings of what might be coming. Full story

Nine indicted in thefts of bourbon from Wild Turkey and Buffalo Trace, including rare Pappy Van Winkle

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Nine people allegedly responsible for well over $100,000 in bourbon thefts, including ultra-rare Pappy Van Winkle, were indicted Tuesday in Franklin Circuit Court. At least 18 barrels of bourbon from Wild Turkey in Anderson County and Buffalo Trace in Frankfort have been recovered by authorities, who also found 25 bottles of various labels of Pappy Van Winkle, also taken from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Full story

The Buddha of Bourbon Speaks

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Distilling is in Jimmy Russell’s blood. His father worked at the Old Joe distillery so long ago that there were only four distilleries in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The area is now the epicenter of Bourbon country. “I grew up just five miles from Wild Turkey, so it was like my backyard,” says Russell, Wild Turkey’s Master Distiller who is currently celebrating his 60th year with the company. Full story

Wild Turkey’s Eddie Russell earns official master distiller title

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Eddie Russell, son of legendary Wild Turkey master distiller Jimmy Russell, has been named master distiller. Jimmy Russell announced the promotion “with great pride” Monday in a news release: “After 34 years, I think he’s finally earned it, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go any easier on him — or that I’m going anywhere anytime soon. Eddie and I will work side by side as the industry’s only father-son master distillers.” Full story

Master distillers at Wild Turkey on the recipe for mixing business with family

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Jimmy Russell grew up along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, so it was a foregone conclusion that he would one day go to work for a distillery, just like his father had. This September, he’ll celebrate his 60th year of service at Wild Turkey, making him the longest-tenured distiller anywhere in North America. His son, Eddie, is also a distiller, a member of the Bourbon Hall of Fame going on 33 years with Wild Turkey. Full story

Bourbon royalty salute Jimmy Russell

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Bourbon royalty saluted Jimmy Russell’s 60th year in the industry today. Al Young (Four Roses), Craig Beam (Heaven Hill), Parker Beam (Heaven Hill), Fred Noe (Beam), KY Governor Steve Beshear, and more toasted Jimmy at the new Wild Turkey Visitor Center. Congrats to a true Kentucky Gentleman. Also, if you haven’t been to the new visitor center, well, you need to change that. It really is spectacular.

Wild Turkey face off

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Wild Turkey has finally begun to re-release its 101 rye. Shortages caused it to go away for some time and now it’s back along with a new look. In a side-by-side comparison, the new release tasted a bit younger and a little less balanced than it predecessor. Let’s hope improvements continue as Wild Turkey begins to build up its stocks of this reliable rye.

As Bourbon Booms, Marketers Firm Prices And Look To Premiumize

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While it’s easy to focus on volume gains in a category that’s added more than 5 million cases to its global total since 2005, the thriving Bourbon segment has been demonstrating even faster growth on the value side, with key players across the industry raising prices and releasing a wide array of trade-up options. According to Impact Databank, the Bourbon category rose 4.5% to 16.7 million cases in the U.S. last year, matching its global growth rate. In the 52 weeks through September 14, Nielsen data shows the segment up 11% by value in the U.S., significantly outpacing its 7% volume advance over the same period. Full story

Whiskey Lovers Rejoice: Wild Turkey 101 Rye Makes Its Highly-Anticipated Return

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Ask and you shall receive. That’s the mantra from the Wild Turkey® team, as the brand brings back its highly-coveted Wild Turkey 101 Rye. After an absence from the market for about a year due to unexpected high demand, Wild Turkey 101 Rye is making its way back into the hearts and back bars of the best whiskey accounts in the country beginning this month. Full story

Campari Enjoys Solid U.S. Sales Growth On Wild Turkey’s Rise, Adds Bulldog Gin To Lineup

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Significant sales growth for the Wild Turkey franchise and the Campari aperitif brand propelled Gruppo Campari to a solid U.S. sales gain in the first nine months of 2013, the company reported earlier today. Campari’s organic sales for the period rose by 3.7% in the U.S., which accounts for slightly more than 20% of the Italian drinks marketer’s total business. Full story

The bourbon family tree

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Kentuckians like to tell you that 95 percent of the world’s bourbon comes from their state. What they won’t tell you is that pretty much every last drop of that bourbon comes from a handful of conglomerate distilleries. In this chart—excerpted from The Kings County Distillery Guide to Urban Moonshining, on shelves now—the guys behind Brooklyn’s oldest craft distillery parse out, once and for all, the complicated kissing cousins of the bluegrass state’s bourbon industry. Full story