Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Whiskey Shortage? Not at Wild Turkey

In the famous fable, Henny Penny, aka Chicken Little, cries "the sky is falling!" Another famous fowl, Wild Turkey Bourbon, says that's all there is to this so-called 'whiskey shortage,' at least for them.

Today, Wild Turkey released a statement from Andrew Floor, the senior marketing director, dark spirits at Campari America. He explains how both Wild Turkey and Russell’s Reserve are weathering the storm.

While demand for quality American whiskey is at an all-time high, Wild Turkey is not affected by the 'whiskey shortage' that has been widely publicized by other distillers in the industry. In fact, Wild Turkey is bucking the 'shortage' trend and is set to meet the dramatic growing demand of its products, not only domestically but overseas as well.

For many years, the Wild Turkey bourbon brand has implemented a sophisticated long-term forecasting process that guides production. More importantly, the Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, Wild Turkey Distillery has two of the ultimate forecasters in father/son distilling duo Jimmy and Eddie Russell. With 93 years of combined experience, these whiskey prognosticators know how to stack the deck in Wild Turkey’s favor to ensure enough aged whiskey is available for the public.

As a reminder, Wild Turkey’s parent company, Gruppo Campari, has invested more than $100 million in the brand since its purchase in 2009, including doubling the plant's production capabilities, constructing a new packaging facility and building multiple barrel warehouses.

We are confident consumers’ enjoyment of Wild Turkey and Russell’s Reserve won’t be interrupted any time soon.

Jim Beam made a similar announcement about a week ago. For Jack Daniel's, it goes without saying. This is the other side of the coin. The biggest brands have plenty of stock and a million ways to move inventory around to avoid even brief spot shortages. Beam has issues with Maker's Mark, of course, but not with the Jim Beam family itself. Wild Turkey, though much smaller, is the same way. The point is, they saw it coming. 

I might quibble with Floor's contention that other distillers are publicizing the shortage. The Buffalo Trace announcement may have prompted some of it, but "the sky is falling!" stuff mostly seems to come from the media itself. They find 'whiskey shortage' makes for an eye-catching headline.

So do I.


Lew Bryson said...

Awesome! So...plenty of WT Rye 101, then?

Anonymous said...

I mean, yeah, its pretty easy to have plenty of whiskey when you stopped putting age statements on your main product in 1990, and also you know the fact that Wild Turkey is considered the Ford Pinto of bourbon by 99% of the spirits drinking community.

Chuck Cowdery said...

Okay. One little shortage or, as they put it, their "supply of rye, in general, is loosening. But the 101 Rye, as you know, is a different animal. And the plan since 101 Rye was re-released in November was to be primarily an on-premise brand with a limited supply."

Sam Komlenic said...

I'm a long-time member of the "spirits drinking community," I applaud the team at Wild Turkey for their foresight in staying ahead of the demand curve. They are a producer that makes a solid lineup of no-compromise whiskeys,

Their rye 101 (available on special order in PA for a pretty reasonable price, $33 per liter) has always been one of my very favorites.

Anonymous said...

The 101 rye is "on-premise" only because of their supply issues there. My experience was that it was found on store shelves far more frequently than behind bars.

I think Buffalo Trace is facing a different challenge in that they have more brands than Wild Turkey, and demand for their products has increased at a greater up-tick than the category in general. Sure, bourbon is up across the board - but my bet is that sales of Buffalo Trace in the last 12 months have climbed much more as a percent than Wild Turkey, when compared to volumes from 5 years ago. I think they are just experiencing growing pains compounded by the growth of the category as a whole.

Unknown said...

More like the Ford F-150. Solid, quality and very popular. I love this stuff!

Unknown said...

I've been drinking WT 101 since the 80s. Now I can't find any within 30 miles of my house.

Unknown said...

Ditto that!