Gruppo Campari completed construction of a new packaging and bottling facility in the US for its Wild Turkey and other reputed alcoholic beverage brands, such as SKYY vodka. Gruppo Campari is an affiliate of beverage company Davide Campari-Milano.

The 145,000ft² plant is located in Lawrenceburg, in the state of Kentucky. It has an initial production capacity of four million nine-litre cases per annum. It has packaging and bottling facilities for all of the distilled spirit brands being marketed by the company in the US.

The plant’s construction began in March 2012 and was completed in September 2013. The project cost $44m and created more than 60 jobs.

Gruppo Campari undertook the expansion as the company witnessed strong demand for Wild Turkey and SKYY vodka in the US, Australia, Canada and Japan. The company sells more than a million nine-litre cases of Wild Turkey per annum through its subsidiary Campari America.

The Wild Turkey brand was earlier owned by Pernod Ricard. Gruppo Campari acquired the brand in 2009. The brand was launched more than 150 years ago and has a rich heritage.

Location of Gruppo Campari’s new facility

"Gruppo Campari undertook the expansion as the company witnessed strong demand for Wild Turkey and SKYY vodka."

The bottling plant is located at the company’s existing site in Lawrenceburg and serves as the principal distillery unit for the Wild Turkey brand. The site is situated about 250 yards from the company’s existing distillery site in Lawrenceburg.

The existing Wild Turkey distillery in Lawrenceburg had a captive packaging line, but the same was suspended from use in 2006. The new packaging facility has replaced the closed down captive plant. The capacity of the new plant is sufficient to meet the packaging needs of the distillery’s entire output.

Gruppo Campari has initiated a series of expansions since purchasing the Wild Turkey brand. It launched a $50m expansion at the distillery in 2011 to almost double the production capacity of the distillery.

Container systems produced at the packaging and bottling plant

The plant is equipped to produce container systems of various sizes, including 50ml, 750ml, 1l, 1.75ml and special editions.

Benefits of the Lawrenceburg-based plant

Gruppo Campari anticipates that the new plant will provide a number of benefits, including cost efficiencies, improved customer service and added production flexibility through in-sourcing the company’s packaging needs.

"Wild Turkey brand was earlier owned by Pernod Ricard. Gruppo Campari acquired the brand in 2009."

Locating the packaging facility at the same site as the existing distillery generates cost efficiency for the company.

It also expects to improve the company’s customer service and provide production flexibility through better planning.

The government of Kentucky saw significant economic benefits due to the project as distilling contributes about $2bn to annual gross state product.

Equipment installed as part of the alcoholic beverage company’s expansion

The bottling lines at the plant are furnished with automated technology and constitute bulk glass unloading equipment, bottle rinsers, fillers, cappers / corkers, labellers, packers, automated quality inspection stations, palletisers and shrink wrappers. There is a hand line for single barrel products.

The plant also has a tank room, which includes tanks, pumps, filters and an automated batching system.

Financing for Gruppo Campari’s $44m project in Kentucky

Gruppo Campari completed the project using its own funds. The project was also supported by the Commonwealth of Kentucky which provided economic incentives of up to $2.35m, including sales tax refunds.

Financial support was provided through the Kentucky Business Investment (KBI) programme and the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, considering the employment opportunities and economic benefits generated by the project.

Future plans for the Lawrenceburg bottling plant

The Lawrenceburg plant’s capacity of four million cases is much higher than the one million cases of Wild Turkey which the company currently sells annually.

The surplus capacity has been installed with the intention of using the plant for packaging of other alcohol brands of the company in future. Some of these brands include Wild Turkey American Honey, Russell’s Reserve and Rare Breed Bourbon.