Pictured above: Our crew of bottling volunteers from last fall.
Based on the success we experienced last year and the huge amount of inquiries on our website, we have decided to do another round of volunteer bottling this year. We will be holding two weeks of volunteer bottling: October 24-28, during the five-year anniversary of our first bottling, and November 14-18 as we start to bottle Batch 5. The work is easy and you get to meet some really nice and interesting people. Templeton Rye supplies pizza each day and everyone gets a free t-shirt and, of course, a sample of The Good Stuff.
To reserve your spot for this year, please review dates and sign up here. Please make a point to only sign up for a spot if you will be able to make it, to help us manage on our end.
As most of you know, RAGBRAI will be coming past the Templeton Rye distillery on Monday, July 25. The entire Templeton Rye team is very excited to have the opportunity to showcase our product and our distillery during RAGBRAI. Yesterday, T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI Director, and several other riders stopped by the distillery on their pre-route inspection ride to check out everything at Templeton Rye. Click here to see what they experienced.
Mark your calendar for Rock & Rye in conjunction with the historic RAGBRAI event passing through Templeton on Monday, July 25th. Whether you are a spectator, support person, or rider, we would love to have you stop by the distillery. We will be conducting tours of the distillery and the town will be hosting a big party adjacent to the distillery with a beer garden, food, misters to cool you all down, and of course entertainment. Our team is anticipating a barrel of fun and the town of Templeton could grow a hundred fold that day. We will be taking a group picture at 1:00 pm in front of our large distillery sign for everyone wearing a Templeton Rye bike jersey.
The Templeton Rye team is pleased to welcome our new summer intern, Laura Underwood. Laura hails from New Hampton in Northeast Iowa and is going to be a senior at Iowa State University this fall, majoring in Agricultural Studies.
Laura will be responsible for several marketing related projects as well as helping with Farmer’s Market and RAGBRAI. She has a very outgoing personality and has already brought some great new ideas to the team. Her recent Agronomy class also proved quite useful in our distillery landscaping efforts.
We are excited to have Laura as a part of the Templeton team and look forward to her contributions over the summer.
Above: A YouTube message from Scott Bush and Keith Kerkhoff, addressing Batch 4 availability and some common misconceptions.
Greetings from Templeton. We wanted to share our 2011 allocation update with you as well as various other facts in light of some rumors flying around Iowa. We have always tried to openly communicate with our partners and customers and want to make sure you have good information.
As many of you know, our product is aged in new charred oak barrels for more than four years, so we are only able to sell today what we had distilled in 2006/2007. We refused to rush our product or sacrifice quality, which has led to a long game of hurry-up-and-wait. We started to expand production at the end of 2006 and that product began to come online in December 2010. However, demand for Templeton Rye has expanded right with this increased supply. We sent 5,000 cases to the State of Iowa in December and were as shocked as anyone that they were all sold in a week. We honestly thought that 5,000 cases would go a long ways toward filling the Iowa pipeline. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
2011 Supply and Allocation
Below is our December 2010 – December 2011 preliminary allocation. We will be sending these cases to each market (Iowa, Chicago, New York City and San Francisco) at the beginning of each month. As you can see, we sent nearly 80% of our December allotment to Iowa and will continue to do our best to supply our home state while balancing the future growth for our company. In fact, the Iowa allocation below is 33% higher than the allocation we shared with the state back in June. Most people in the industry think we are crazy to allocate this much product to Iowa, but it is important to us as Iowa people and as an Iowa company. Please support us on this fact if you hear folks saying we are “sending all our product out of state.”
Iowa Allocation and Procedure
Iowa is what is known in the industry as a “Control State,” meaning the State of Iowa acts as the distributor for spirits state-wide. We sell every bottle of Templeton Rye in Iowa to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (also known as the ABD). The ABD applies a “mark-up” or tax, and sells the product to licensees (spirits retailers). Please note that despite serious pressure, we have not changed our price to the ABD. The ABD applies a set mark-up and retailers have the liberty to set the final price charged to consumers.
The ABD allocates the cases we send them every month to “uniformly distribute” them amongst licensees. They decide how many cases each licensee can order every month and they begin to fill orders on a certain day. Iowa licensees order on either Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday with delivery the following day. Depending on what day of the week a licensee orders, and the amount of product sent in that month, they may or may not get any product that particular month.
Each party mentioned above is in a tough spot because of the supply/demand situation. We realize that and truly appreciate their efforts. What we want to make clear is that once we sell product to the ABD we do not control where it ends up or the price on the shelf. We have a lot more influence on those items in other states, and quite frankly, if Iowa were not our home state we would probably allocate much less product here.
Selling at the Distillery
We have legally been able to sell product at the distillery since July 2010. We chose not to sell at the distillery because we did not think it was the right thing to do with our retail partners in such short supply. We thought the Dec 2010 allocation would go a long way towards filling the Iowa pipeline and we had planned to start selling at the distillery on January 1st. Because the December ’10 allocation went so quickly, we have put those plans on hold. We honestly do not know if (or when) we will start to sell Templeton Rye at the distillery. Please watch our newsletter for any updates on this subject.
Where to Find a Bottle?
Once we sell a bottle to the ABD we do not have any information as to where it will end up, so we can’t really help find a retailer that has product in stock. Retailers can only sell what they get allocated from the state, which is limited by the amount of product we send to the ABD – so we ask that you please do not get frustrated with retailers. They are doing the best they can in a tough situation and would obviously be happy to sell you a bottle if they could.
One option is to search various stores the first week or two of each month and hopefully find a bottle in stock. We have also noticed a lot of our fans helping others find bottles on our Facebook page and through the Twitter hashtag #TRspottings, so be sure to watch those channels as well.
From January 2010 through November 2010 we sold 3,100 cases in Iowa. From Dec 2010 through December 2011 we are set to sell 20,000 cases in Iowa. Our aging stock for 2012, 2013 and 2014 is obviously already in the barrels and each year is a significant increase over the previous year.
As mentioned earlier, once we sell product to the ABD we do not control where it ends up or the price on the shelf.
We sincerely understand that the current Templeton Rye supply/demand situation is causing some headaches for folks trying to buy and sell our product. We apologize for this and can only say that we share your frustration and wish we could grow the company overnight – but that is simply not the case. We appreciate the work that our loyal retail partners have done in the past and continue to do on a daily basis. We also appreciate the support and enthusiasm of Templeton Rye fans in Iowa and around the world.
Greetings from Templeton. It is a very exciting time here at the distillery as we have finally reached a date we have been looking forward to for a long time. We called it “Whiskey Birthday” in our calendar and it was the date that our Batch 4 turned four years old. Batch 4 is our first product from when we started to scale up production four long years ago. Our volume is still a pittance in the grand whiskey world but it is a nice step forward for us that we will continue to build on for the next several years.
In our last newsletter we asked if anyone was interested in helping us bottle Batch 4, and to our amazement we had over 150 people sign-up to work in conjunction with our existing team. Our first bottling was yesterday, and our volunteers did a great job. In fact, we shattered our previous record. We worked hard and had a fun day. Thank you all for your interest and help! We still have some slots available for next week, Nov 29-Dec 3. If you are interested in helping out please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking forward to having product delivered to the State of Iowa and available for order on Monday, December 6th and at stores later that week. We will also be resupplying Illinois and entering San Francisco and New York on a very limited basis.
It is with a heavy heart that I reach out to tell you that we have lost Templeton Rye Master Distiller Meryl Kerkhoff. Meryl died at Manning Hospital, surrounded by his family. I really struggle to put into words how much we all admired this great man. He will be missed dearly.
Meryl was a child of the Depression, born a mile from our current distillery in Templeton in 1929 to Alphonse and Frances (Bluml) Kerkhoff. He attended Sacred Heart School in Templeton and graduated in 1946. Meryl fought in Korea for two years and went on to a successful career as a farmer and auctioneer. He and his wife Imelda had seven children and 14 grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Ohde Funeral Home in Manning, Iowa.
Meryl had a presence that was unmistakable. He was a true gentleman and a man of great stature, both in size and in character. I will always remember how his huge hands, strengthened by a lifetime of farming, would totally engulf those of anyone who would shake them. He dressed well, yet modestly, and had his signature Templeton Rye cap slightly tilted, or “a little cocky” as he would say.
Meryl had a sense of humor and his own language that greatly amused the rest of our team. A nice place was “Uptown” and when things were going well we were “Cadillacing.” He was a caring man who was always excited to see you and would ask, “So, how’ve things been going?” Meryl was a patient man and was more likely to listen than to talk. He gave Keith and I great advice over the years and was always very thorough about issues that impacted our company.
Obviously things will continue at Templeton Rye and Keith has been handling the day-to-day duties for sometime. Genetics are a powerful thing I guess, as I look at what I have written about Meryl, I could very well be describing Keith.
Please keep Meryl, Imelda, Keith and all of the Kerkhoff family in your thoughts and prayers.
At Meryl’s request, we got together a couple of weeks ago to record Meryl, Keith and I reminiscing about some of our experiences with the company. We video taped a portion of the discussion which can be seen below.
As many of you know, a law was passed earlier this year allowing us to be able to sell Templeton Rye at the distillery effective July 1, 2010. Due to our current allocation situation, we will not be selling any product at the distillery until mid-December, allowing retailers to get all of the product. We thank you for your continued patience and support!
Last year we planted and harvested our first crop of rye on the distillery property in Templeton. We used a portion of our home-grown rye to make our last batch and are working to increase the quality and size of our crop. This year’s crop is about three feet tall right now and is a beautiful blue/green. We will analyze it after harvest and hopefully use some in upcoming batches.
Please join us for the 3rd Annual Rock & Rye celebration on Saturday, July 31st, 2010, brought to you by the Templeton Community Betterment Association and your friends at Templeton Rye. Below is the Rock & Rye 2010 schedule of events:
6:00 PM – Beer garden opens. All proceeds benefit the Templeton Community Betterment Association.
7:30 PM – Aged Spirits
9:00 PM – The Nadas
Tickets are available for $10 per person plus a nominal Eventbrite fee in advance (below) and will be available for $15 per person at the door if you choose not to take the charter bus.
We are also bringing three charter buses from Des Moines to Templeton for the party. A seat on the bus is $50 per person plus a nominal Eventbrite fee and includes your ticket to the show. These seats are limited so get yours today.
Buses will be departing the Jordan Creek Costco parking lot in West Des Moines at 4:00 p.m. sharp on July 31st. The buses are air-conditioned with restrooms and will allow beverages (cans or plastic only – no glass) in soft-side coolers. After the concert, the buses will depart from Templeton at 11:30 p.m. arriving back in West Des Moines just after 1:00 a.m. Cabs will be available in the Costco parking lot upon return if requested.
Reserve your seat on the Rock & Rye Charter or purchase advance tickets:
You will receive an email confirmation with your ticket purchase confirming your order. Keep this for your records. Tickets purchased online can be picked up at will call on the day of the event.
Greetings from Templeton. We are a ways into a long winter here in Iowa, but spring is in sight and it is officially 2010, the year when our expanded inventory starts to come on-line.
As many of you know, our product is aged in oak barrels for more than four years so we are only able to sell today what we distilled in 2006. We refused to rush our product or sacrifice quality, which has led to a long game of hurry-up-and-wait.
We started to expand production at the end of 2006 and that product begins to come on-line late this year. The bad news is that inventory will continue to be very lean until then. The good news is that we hope and expect to have a much larger and more stable inventory in place for Iowa and Illinois in time for Christmas and after the first of next year.
Until then, we will continue to ask for your patience. We currently sell about 70% of our product in Iowa and will continue to send product to the State Liquor Warehouse each month. You can see our actual Iowa case allocation for 2010 and early 2011 below. And, yes, we’ll be giving thanks in November that December and beyond looks much better.
Thank you all for your continued support. We are just getting started and are very excited about the future of Templeton Rye.
When Prohibition outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in 1920, many enterprising residents of a small Iowa town chose to become outlaws – producing a high caliber and much sought-after whiskey known as Templeton Rye.