Known as ‘Iowa’s most notorious whiskey’, Templeton Rye was first created by a defiant community when the west was wild and the heavy hand of the law enforced Prohibition. Although those times have since passed, the infamous Templeton Rye Whiskey name has not. After seventy years, the iconic brand has been resurrected and has taken its place once again among the world’s great distilled spirits.
A new distillery designed to quench the increasing global thirst for rye whiskey takes pride of place in the small town of Templeton and is one of the largest family owned whiskey distilleries in the US.
On January 17, 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment and Volstead Act went into effect, beginning the Prohibition era in the United States. With the quality and quantity of available spirits being squeezed dry, the daring 350 residents of Templeton, Iowa, started producing a carefully crafted, sought after bootleg rye whiskey affectionately known as The Good Stuff.
With such a small population, the farmers who harvested the rich and fertile soils depended upon each other to make ends meet. It was out of this loyalty a brand developed, gaining traction as demand increased and even Chicago’s famous bootleggers were drinking Templeton Rye whiskey.
On December 5, 1933, the ratification of the Twenty-First Amendment repeals the Eighteenth Amendment, officially ending Prohibition on December 15. Small batches of The Good Stuff continue to be produced illegally and enjoyed inconspicuously by those in the know around Templeton. Not long after the Prohibition laws were lifted, the brand was lost but a global demand for rye whiskey has seen ‘Iowa’s most notorious whiskey’ rise again.
In 2006, 68 barrels of Templeton Rye whiskey complete their four-year aging process. The spirit is bottled and shelved legally for the first time in the United States thanks to the collaboration of co-founder Meryl Kerkhoff, son of Alphons Kerkhoff, who was one of the most prolific Prohibition-era producers of The Good Stuff. Meryl also enlists his son, Keith Kerkhoff, to join the Templeton team and carry on the family tradition.
In 2008, the Templeton Rye facility was expanded to allow for more production to meet the growing demand. An automated bottling line is utilised in the Templeton distillery, providing a much quicker method to bottle The Good Stuff where previously it was bottled by hand.
The photo-famous Templeton Rye barrel tree was constructed in 2012 with the first annual tree lighting ceremony taking place that holiday season. This event has since become an annual tradition with tours, guest speakers, hot cocoa and, of course, Templeton Rye. In 2013 Templeton Rye began distributing nationally across the United States and expanding internationally to Canada in 2015 and Australia in 2019.
In 2016, Templeton Rye proclaimed January 16th as National bootleggers Day where bootleggers across the nation came out to celebrate Templeton Rye and enjoy a glass of The Good Stuff. In 1920, the 17th marked the start of Prohibition and the birth of Templeton Rye. Templeton’s own Meryl Kerkhoff was also born on this day. To get a taste of the Good Stuff, shop Templeton Rye online at GoodDrop today.