Templeton Rye Distillery opened

The whiskey brand from Iowa got its own home now

Last Tuesday there was a big event in Templeton, Iowa: The opening of the Templeton Rye Distillery marked the completion of a $35 mio project that creates 17 new jobs. The 350 residents of the small village are looking for the benefits of the expected whiskey tourism, caused by the distillery and its visitor center.

The focus of Templeton Rye Distillery is of course on the production of its whiskey that will be 500.000 gallons (1.9 mio liters) of rye whiskey annually according to a press release. The Templeton Rye Whiskey that is produced here is no newcomer on the market. The founders of the brand, Kerkhoff and Scott Bush, released their first batch already in 2006. Up to now the whiskey wasn’t produced by themselves but as a third-party product, distilled by MPG in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. To bottle a whiskey produced by order at another distillery is a usual business model in the US – and as well in Ireland. But it’s a question of communicating this fact as Templeton Rye got to know in 2014 and 2015.

Back-Paddelling from consumer deception

Media reports about several lawsuits made Templeton Rye more known than the whiskey itself did: the company was accused of consumer deception. Firstly because of the information on the labels consumers were led to believe the whiskey had been produced in Iowa. Then it was called a small batch whiskey following a recipe from the prohibition era (see this old label here). Templeton Rye payed $2.5 mio and gave up to name Iowa the indication of origin. They’ll probably return to that in 2022 when the first whiskey made at Templeton Rye Distillery is expected to be bottled.

And since that lawsuits the whiskey is told to be produced “using a recipe that best matched the recipe of Alphonse Kerkhoff, co-founder Keith Kerkhoff’s grandfather” so that the taste of the Templeton Rye Whiskey resembles the one of the prohibition era. “Today, the whiskey may be slightly different—instead of stills in basements and barns, the company has a modern, legal plant—but the entrepreneurial spirit remains true to Templeton’s roots.”

Pictures: Templeton Rye Distillery