Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Boardwalk Empire Premiere Party at Star Theater in Science Center of Iowa

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Fans who have been awaiting the return of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire can celebrate the series return by attending a viewing party on September 25 (premiere night) hosted by Templeton Rye. Templeton Rye, from tiny Templeton, Iowa was a favorite of Capone, a major character in the series. “We have several videos and documentation linking Capone to Templeton Rye. It was said to be his drink of choice, ” says Scott Bush, co-founder Templeton Rye.

Not only was Templeton Capone’s drink of choice – it was also a leading favorite among other citizens during prohibition. According to a Chicago Tribune article dated January 16, 1933, the renowned Templeton was “second only in popularity to raw alcohol and near beer.”

The Boardwalk Empire viewing party will take place at the 50′ Star Theater at the Science Center of Iowa and all proceeds will benefit SCI. “We are very excited about the event. Templeton Rye is a great Iowa product and SCI looks forward to this partnership to help support all the exhibits and programs that Iowans experience every day at SCI,” said Susan Kloewer, Director of Development at the Science Center of Iowa.

The evening begins at 6 pm with cocktails and hors d’ouevres. At 7:30 pm, the theater will show some Templeton Rye videos as ‘Previews’. Then minutes before the season opener of Boardwalk Empire, Scott Bush along with Keith Kerkhoff, Master Distiller will welcome the crowd. “Everyone is so excited about the series this season. We have reason to believe Templeton Rye will be making a guest appearance in at least the first couple of episodes,” said Kerkhoff.

At the event, Templeton will be served in a cocktail called the Nucky, after Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, mayor of Atlantic City who is played in the show by actor Steve Buscemi. “We’re really elated that we could partner with The Star Theater at the Science Center of Iowa and help raise funds for this center that is so much a part of the community,” says Bush. Only 60 tickets are available for the event and will be sold for $25 each. To purchase tickets call Kelly Henry at the Science Center of Iowa at (515) 274-6868 x223.

Meryl Kerkhoff, 1929-2010

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Dear friends,

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.

Scott Bush, President, Templeton Rye


ABOVE: A pair of legends. Templeton Rye Master Distillery Meryl Kerkhoff with Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell.




50th anniversary of Lakers’ miracle corn field landing in Carroll, Iowa

Friday, January 22nd, 2010


This week marks the 50th anniversary of the miracle Minneapolis Lakers corn field landing in Carroll, Iowa. On January 17, 1960, the Minneapolis Lakers departed St. Louis after losing to the St. Louis Hawks 135-119. Shortly after takeoff, the DC-3 charter plane began experiencing electrical problems, and eventually lost all electricity, including the fuel gauge. Unable to turn back because of air traffic in St. Louis, the plane flew for three to four hours above a massive winter storm. Eventually the plane started to veer off-course and the pilots decided they were going to have to make an emergency landing. Co-pilots Vernon Ullman and Harold Gifford managed to catch sight of Highway 71 in the snowstorm and land safely in a corn field (the Emma Steffes farm).

Carroll resident John Steffes, whose parents owned the farm where the plane landed, described the story behind the landing on Mouth of Midwest on 1700 the Champ this week. Listen to John’s story here. After landing on the Emme Steffes farm, the players were transported to a hotel in Carroll. The pilots and team were pretty shaken up by the whole incident, and rumor has it that one of the players ripped off the liquor cabinet door at the hotel and poured himself a big glass of whiskey. “The Good Stuff” perhaps?

On January 17th, 2010, the good people of Carroll, Iowa, remembered the miracle landing of the Minneapolis Lakers 50th anniversary with a ceremony. A monument was unveiled by 86-year old co-pilot Harold Gifford in Carroll’s Veteran’s Memorial Park, less than 100 yards from where the plane stopped.

Read more on about the Lakers landing in Carroll:
Valiant efforts saved Lakers – Omaha World-Herald
Happy anniversary: Lakers survive crash – Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Iowa Landing Was ‘Magic’ for the Lakers – Daily Yonder
50 years ago today: Lakers narrowly avert disaster – ESPN.com

TR stories: The Purple Gang and Al Capone’s private stash of The Good Stuff

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Doug Thompson shares stories about his grandfather, Charles “Red” Thompson, and his connections to the Purple Gang, Al Capone and Templeton Rye during the Prohibition Era.

Want to see more videos? Please visit our YouTube channel.

TR stories: Liberating the bottles

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Bob Hoffman of Carroll County, Iowa, talks about growing up in Templeton and how he and his friends would capitalize on the success of the bootleggers by redeeming their empty bottles for five cents each. Once they redeemed the bottles, the hotel clerk on Main Street would put them in a storage shed on his lot for safekeeping. Find out in the video below how Bob and his friends “liberated” the bottles to keep them moving.

Want to see more videos? Please visit our YouTube channel.

Merlyn Zubrod’s handmade custom bottle displays

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Templeton Rye’s own Merlyn Zubrod shows us his handmade custom Templeton Rye bottle displays and talks about the inspiration behind them.

Want to see more videos? Please visit our YouTube channel.

TR stories: Happy Hour at The Plaza Part 4

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

This is the last of our 4-part Happy Hour at The Plaza TR story videos series. In this video, the residents share a few more memories about Templeton Rye during the prohibition era and raise their glasses to The Good Stuff.

Want to see more videos? Please visit our YouTube channel.

TR stories: Happy Hour at The Plaza Part 3

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

We continue our 4-part TR story series this week with part 3 of Happy Hour at The Plaza. In this video, a resident of The Plaza named Hilda shares a few stories involving the revenuers, drunk hogs and her father hiding Templeton Rye under the swing set.

Want to see more videos? Please visit our YouTube channel.

TR stories: Happy Hour at The Plaza Part 2

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

We continue our 4-part TR story series with a video of residents of The Plaza, an assisted living facility in Manning, Iowa, reminiscing about The Good Stuff with Templeton Rye’s Keith Kerkhoff and Jason Walsmith during their weekly happy hour.

One resident tastes the “legal” Templeton Rye for the first time at the age of 91. Another resident, Florence Parson, shares a story about a doctor nursing her mother back to health with Templeton Rye in 1929.

Want to see more videos? Please visit our YouTube channel.

TR stories: Happy Hour at The Plaza

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

The Plaza is an assisted living facility in Manning, Iowa. Manning is a neighboring town to Templeton, and many of the people who live there are lifelong residents of the region. Every Friday afternoon they have a happy hour. On this particular Friday, the function was hosted by Templeton Rye. After a couple of sips, everyone started reminiscing.

We kick off this TR story series with a video of Merlin Rostermundt of Manning, Iowa, sharing his memories about Templeton Rye and his grandfather’s visit from The Feds.

Want to see more videos? Please visit our YouTube channel.

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