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Wild Turkey Looks To Restore Growth With Packaging Revamp, New 81 Proof Extension

June 7, 2011

With the unveiling of a new line extension and a packaging makeover, Campari-owned Wild Turkey Bourbon is getting a renewed push this summer in the U.S. market, where it’s been in decline in recent years. The repack—for flagship Wild Turkey 101, Wild Turkey Rye and new entry Wild Turkey 81—aims to create a bolder image for brand, with greater visibility for the logo and proof statement.

New product Wild Turkey 81 is an 81-proof line extension ($20 a 750-ml.) targeting the cocktail segment. It replaces the old 80-proof version. “This is an everyday whiskey that can stand up to any mixer and have a bold taste in any cocktail,” says associate distiller Eddie Russell, who created Wild Turkey 81. The rollout will be supported by advertising across print, outdoor and digital, as well as social media. “No one has spent on Wild Turkey for 20-plus years, and we’ll be pushing hard,” said Gerry Ruvo, chairman and ceo of Campari’s U.S. unit, Skyy Spirits. “We’ve worked hard to get the campaign to a level we’re comfortable with.”

Campari acquired Wild Turkey from Pernod Ricard in 2009, in a deal worth $575 million. While the brand’s American Honey liqueur extension has flourished, the core Wild Turkey brand has struggled in the U.S. market lately. After tough years in 2008 and 2009, Skyy succeeded in halting the volume decline at roughly 550,000 cases last year. Now, with the new cocktail-friendly extension and a major marketing push, it’s aiming to return Wild Turkey to positive growth territory.

US – Leading Bourbon Brands*
(thousands of nine-liter case depletions)
Percent Change
Brand Company 2008 2009 2010 2008-2009 2009-2010
Jack Daniel’s Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide 4,705 4,679 4,647 -0.6% -0.7%
Jim Beam Beam Global Spirits & Wine 3,130 3,116 3,188 -0.4% 2.3%
Evan Williams Heaven Hill Distilleries 1,010 1,050 1,200 4.0% 14.3%
Maker’s Mark Beam Global Spirits & Wine 770 805 915 4.5% 13.7%
Early Times Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide 650 656 617 0.9% -5.9%
Wild Turkey Skyy Spirits (Campari) 570 550 550 -3.5% 0.0%
Total Top Six 10,835 10,856 11,117 0.2% 2.4%
*includes Tennessee and Kentucky whiskies 

Source: IMPACT DATABANK

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