Templeton Rye

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Templeton Rye
Templeton Rye Logo.png
Type Rye Whiskey
Manufacturer Templeton Rye Spirits, LLC
Country of origin United States
Introduced 2006
Alcohol by volume 40%
Proof (US) 80
Colour Amber
Website www.templetonrye.com

Templeton Rye refers to rye whiskey originally made in Templeton, Iowa during the prohibition era as a way for farmers in the Carroll County area to supplement their income.[1] Amber in color, it was considered to be of particularly high quality and was popular in Chicago, Omaha, and Kansas City speakeasies.[2] It was said to be the mobster Al Capone's drink of choice.[3] 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.[4]

In fact, Templeton Rye brand whiskey is distilled and aged in Lawrenceburg Indiana by MGP of Indiana utilizing a recipe shared with other brands. It is combined with an "alcohol flavoring agent" from Clarendon Flavor Engineers, and finally bottled at an Iowa facility.[5][6] Pursuant to a class action settlement announced in 2015, Templeton will add the words "distilled in Indiana" to the label and remove claims of "Prohibition Era Recipe" and "small batch." The settlement also affords refunds to customers who bought Templeton Rye since 2006.[6]

As a commercial brand[edit]

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.[7] 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".[8] and Brian Green is the registered agent for "Templeton Rye Spirits, LLC".[9] 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.[10]

Scott Bush claims that his great-grandfather was involved in the making of the original Templeton rye.[11] However, the recipe used is not from Bush's great-grandfather, but from Alphons Kerkhoff,[12] whose son Meryl Kerkhoff provided the recipe.[13]

In August 2014, it was revealed that the recipe used was not that of any family, but a standard recipe from MGP.[5]


  1. ^ Templeton, Iowa website, "The Story of Templeton Rye."
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Walker, Jason (2009-07-07). "Templeton Rye of Templeton, Iowa". Heavy Table. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  4. ^ Kilen, Mike (15 August 2007). "Cheers, Chicago: Iowa rye makes its return". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 25 August 2007. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b Hafner, Josh (28 August 2014). "How Templeton Rye is produced". Des Moines Register. 
  6. ^ a b Noel, Josh (14 July 2015). "Templeton Rye reaches lawsuit settlement, will pay refunds". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  7. ^ Iowa Secretary of State website corporation number 136690
  8. ^ Iowa Secretary of State website corporation number 333277
  9. ^ Iowa Secretary of State website corporation number 309385
  10. ^ Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC board of directors retrieved from http://www.sireethanol.com website August 25, 2007.
  11. ^ The Associated Press (16 June 2005). "Iowa made Prohibition-era rye whiskey making legal comeback". Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  12. ^ "Karlin's Notebook: Prohibition-Era Whiskey Makes Comeback KCCI (Des Moines, Iowa, television station) website, posted November 15, 2006.
  13. ^ Kilen, Mike (7 November 2006). "Templeton Gives Rye a New Shot". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 25 August 2007. 

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