You thought the white spirits at Wild Turkey Distillery were moonshine? Well, think again. It turns out those white spirits are not unaged whiskey, their ghosts. Ghost Hunters, on the Syfy channel just started season 10. The first episode aired with a trip to Lawrenceburg, KY, the home of Wild Turkey Bourbon and the Ripy family ghost.
Employees of Wild Turkey have reported hearing weird sounds at the distillery and rackhouses for many years. Recently, the cover photo you are seeing here surfaced showing what looks like a man leaning up against a pole. There was no man there and there is no pole there.
Workers at the distillery have reported hearing footsteps, voices, full body apparitions, dark shadows, sounds of typewriters typing, doors opening and closing and getting their butts touched. (Perhaps all this can be tied back to the Pappy Van Winkle and Wild Turkey bourbon heists?)
They believe the ghost to be a Ripy or that of “Bob” a deceased distillery worker. The Ripy family founded the distillery 146 years ago in 1869. Olivia Ripy (photos) is the last Ripy family member to be employed at the distillery. She’s heard her uncle Roger Ripy’s voice, had cabinet doors move right in front of her and dishes fall from shelves.
Ghost Hunters Wild Turkey Distillery Ghost Hunt
A Brief History of Wild Turkey Bourbon
James and John Ripy arrived in Kentucky from Tyrone, Ireland, and opened a store selling general goods. The Ripy’s settled in Lawrenceburg, beneath the towering limestone cliffs along the Kentucky River in the shadow of what is now called Wild Turkey Hill and christened the plot “Tyrone.” The huddle of log cabins became the site of their first distillery with a capacity for mashing 100 bushels of corn per day. At about the same time, Austin, Nichols began as a wholesale grocer specializing in teas, coffees, and of course, spirits.
The business steadily grew until the advent of Prohibition (18th Amendment) in 1919, when America’s distilleries closed down. Many would never reopen, but Kentuckians retained a fierce loyalty to their spirit that eventually became known as, “America’s Native Spirit.” During Prohibition, the Ripy Distillery continued a moderate production for medicinal uses, which was sold by Austin, Nichols. The distillery struggled to survive until 1933 when Congress enacted the 21st Amendment and repealed Prohibition. Following the repeal of Prohibition, the distillery underwent modernization. Six years later, Austin, Nichols & Company shed its wholesale grocery business to focus solely on fine wines and spirits. In 1940, Austin, Nichols executive Thomas McCarthy inadvertently established the Wild Turkey Bourbon brand name. An avid sportsman, McCarthy gathered with friends each year for a wild turkey hunt on a South Carolina estate. McCarthy, who was asked to bring the whiskey, pulled a sample of undiluted 101 proof from the warehouse. The following year, his friends insisted he bring more of “that wild turkey bourbon.” McCarthy, a businessman with a background in marketing, realized he had a winning product and soon began to market Wild Turkey Bourbon.