Templeton Rye refers to rye whiskey originally made in Templeton, Iowa during the prohibition era as a way for farmers in the Carroll County area to supplement their income. Amber in color, it was considered to be of particularly high quality and was popular in Chicago, Omaha, and Kansas City speakeasies. It was said to be the mobster Al Capone's drink of choice. More recently "Templeton Rye" has been introduced as a brand of whiskey that its producer claims is based on a prohibition-era recipe. Distribution outside of Iowa began in August 2007. Templeton Rye is distilled and aged at Lawrenceburg Distillers in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and is shipped to Iowa by tanker truck. It is then bottled at an Iowa facility. Lawrenceburg Distillers is a wholly owned subsidiary of MGP Ingredients, a corporation headquartered in Atchison, Kansas.
As a commercial brand
In 1965, Clifford and Rose Romey registered "Templeton Rye Whiskey" as a corporation and trademark in Iowa, which was renewed by Alice Romey in 1996. It went inactive in 2001.
Shortly thereafter, Scott Bush, Keith Kerkhoff, and Ted Bauer (then the holder of the Templeton Rye trademark) formed a corporation to make rye whiskey in Templeton using a prohibition-era recipe. (Based on information on the Iowa Secretary of State website, Bush is the registered agent for "Templeton Rye Whiskey LLC". and Brian Green is the registered agent for "Templeton Rye Spirits, LLC". The brand's product literature lists "Templeton Rye Spirits, LLC" as the corporate name and that is the company that holds the distilling license.) Ted Bauer of Audubon, Iowa, is no longer involved with the company.
Scott Bush claims that his great-grandfather was involved in the making of the original Templeton rye. However, the recipe used is not from Bush's great-grandfather, but from Alphons Kerkhoff, whose son Meryl Kerkhoff provided the recipe.
In August 2014, it was revealed that the recipe used was not that of any family, but a standard recipe from MGP.
- Templeton, Iowa website, "The Story of Templeton Rye."
- Lisa L. Ossian. "Bandits, Mad Men, and Suicides: Fear, Anger, and Death in a Troubled Iowa Landscape, 1929-1933. " Agricultural History 80.3 (2006): 296-311 at 302. Sciences Module. ProQuest. 25 Aug. 2007 http://www.proquest.com
- Walker, Jason (2009-07-07). "Templeton Rye of Templeton, Iowa". Heavy Table. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Kilen, Mike (15 August 2007). "Cheers, Chicago: Iowa rye makes its return". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 25 August 2007.[dead link]
- Lawrenceburg Distillers
- MGP Ingredients website
- Iowa Secretary of State website corporation number 136690
- Iowa Secretary of State website corporation number 333277
- Iowa Secretary of State website corporation number 309385
- Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC board of directors retrieved from http://www.sireethanol.com website August 25, 2007.
- The Associated Press (16 June 2005). "Iowa made Prohibition-era rye whiskey making legal comeback". Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. Retrieved 4 April 2009.
- "Karlin's Notebook: Prohibition-Era Whiskey Makes Comeback KCCI (Des Moines, Iowa, television station) website, posted November 15, 2006.
- Kilen, Mike (7 November 2006). "Templeton Gives Rye a New Shot". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 25 August 2007.
- "How Templeton Rye is produced". Des Moines Register.
- Templeton Rye Spirits LLC website
- Templeton, Iowa, website
- Interview with Scott Bush, et al. on the reintroduction and history of Templeton Rye (Iowa Public Radio, April 24, 2008)
- Templeton Rye: Iowa's Good Stuff Documentary produced by Iowa Public Television
- Gentlemen Bootleggers: The True Story of Templeton Rye, Prohibition, and a Small Town in Cahoots, a non-fiction book on Prohibition-era Templeton rye.