Wild Turkey maker reaches 60th year in business

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (AP) — Jimmy Russell strolled into a roomful of tourists, and soon the patriarch of Kentucky bourbon was posing for pictures and autographing bottles. The man behind Wild Turkey even took a turn as barkeeper, pouring samples of amber whiskey at the distillery’s visitors’ center.

When Brian Leathers of Hammond, Louisiana, told him he had been drinking Wild Turkey for years, Russell replied: "I’ve made every drop."

That was no idle barroom boasting. The 79-year-old master distiller has indeed been responsible for every drop of Wild Turkey for generations of consumers.

Celebrating his 60th year in the business, Russell has overseen production of about 3 million barrels of bourbon as Wild Turkey’s master distiller.

In a business where age is valued, Russell is seen as a special vintage himself.


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