About Templeton Rye Whiskey
When Prohibition outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in 1920, a few enterprising residents of Iowa chose to become outlaws rather than teetotalers. Alphonse Kerkhoff, a farmer by trade, began cooking batches of rye whiskey near his home in Templeton to supplement his income. "The Good Stuff," as Kerkhoff's rye was known, was so popular that he began tying a white horse named Babe to a pole in his front yard as a signal to residents that another batch of Templeton Rye was ready.
Shortly thereafter, Kerkhoff partnered with notorious bootlegger Al Capone to distribute his rye across the country. Capone bootlegged hundreds of barrels of Templeton Rye to speakeasies in New York, Chicago and as far west as San Francisco — legend has it that he even had a case smuggled into his jail cell at Alcatraz.
Following Prohibition, Kerkhoff continued to cook Templeton Rye for his friends and family, before eventually passing the recipe on to his son, Meryl. Today, nearly a century after it was first distilled, Templeton Rye pays homage to that recipe by Keith Kerkhoff, Alfonse's grandson.
Templeton Rye is made in Indiana from a variety of winter and spring rye grains that possess specific organoleptic qualities. The rye (which comprises over 90% of the mashbill, with the remainder being malted barley) is fermented for 72-84 hours using a yeast culture that was developed specifically for whiskey production. After fermentation, the mash is double-distilled and then aged in charred, American white oak casks (sourced from a Missouri cooperage) for a minimum of four years.
The whiskey is bottled in Templeton, Iowa, where Iowa's hot summers, cold winters and wet springs (monthly average temperatures range from a high of 86.2° F to a low of 6.3° F) result in more contact between the whiskey and the oak prior to bottling, helping the whiskey mature faster and giving it more complexity and flavor.
Templeton Rye earned the Gold Medal at the 2009 and 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and was named "Rye Whiskey of the Year"in the 2009 Whisky Bible
. It also earned the title "Best of Whiskey"at the 2008 Los Angeles Wine and Spirits Competition, beating out more than 4,000 other entrants in the competition.
Now that Prohibition is over, you can enjoy Templeton Rye conspicuously.
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As American as the bald eagle, rye whiskey was first brewed in the American Northeast in the 1600s. Even George Washington distilled it after leaving the Oval Office, so there’s no way of denying its origin.
It’s distinguished from bourbon for its original and unique spicy notes.
By law, rye whiskey must be made from at least 51% rye grain, aged in new and charred oak barrels for at least two years, and bottled at no more than 62,5% ABV.
Check out our impressive selection of rye whiskeys, find your new favorites in The best-reviewed rye whiskeys, and explore our treasury of Best rye bottles under $100.