Five barrels seized last week from behind a shed in Franklin County do contain Wild Turkey bourbon, according to a statement from Gruppo Campari, the distillery's parent.
"The bourbon within was destined to become Wild Turkey 101," Campari spokesman Dave Karraker said in a statement. Each barrel would be worth about $3,000.
"Following the discovery of five unidentified barrels of bourbon found by the Franklin County Sheriff's Department, we executed an internal investigation to uncover if these barrels were the property of Wild Turkey," Karraker said.
Company officials examined the barrels, but all identifying marks either had been destroyed or proved not to be of any help in figuring out whether the barrels came from the company's Lawrenceburg warehouse.
So they turned to the liquid inside, subjecting it to a variety of analyses, including a tasting panel and testing the proof, or amount of alcohol by volume.
"After careful review, we have determined that the five barrels were indeed our property, initially distilled and barreled in 2009," Karraker said. "We have determined that these barrels were stolen from a warehouse at our Camp Nelson campus. A review of the premises shows no signs of forcible entry."
Although the bourbon has been identified, it likely will be destroyed, Karraker said.
"We can't guarantee the food safety of them once they are out of our control," he added.
Campari is cooperating with the investigation of the theft, Karraker said.
On Tuesday, a hearing was set for April 21 for Gilbert Thomas Curtsinger, 45, who was arrested last week after sheriff's deputies found the five barrels behind a storage shed at his home in Franklin County.
Curtsinger, who entered no plea during a hearing Tuesday, works at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, where 65 cases of Pappy Van Winkle and nine cases of Pappy Van Winkle Rye, altogether valued at more than $26,000, were stolen in 2013.
The Pappy Van Winkle has not been recovered, and no charges have been filed.
Franklin Sheriff Pat Melton has said he can't say whether the two thefts might be related. Melton said detectives began the investigation and obtained a search warrant for Curtsinger's home after receiving a tip.