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.
Full Court Press group visits the Templeton Rye tasting room
In October, we embarked on our maiden voyage in the new Templeton Rye shuttle bus, bringing along the owners and staff from Full Court Press for a VIP distillery tour. Full Court Press operates several of the coolest and most unique bars in Des Moines, including The Royal Mile, The Red Monk, Shorty’s, High Life Lounge, Hessen Haus and Buzzard Billy’s. The trip was a chance for the whole gang to learn more about the history of Templeton Rye and the production, aging and bottling process.
Our brand new Templeton Rye shuttle bus
Our day included a tour of the distillery, a classic cocktail demonstration in the tasting room, and lunch at the Corner Station (the local diner that also serves as a convenience store / gas station). We then headed north to Maple Valley Junction to Little Gus’s for some post-lunch beers and good times.
Uncle Buck’s, an Iowa-themed bar full of reclaimed barn wood located in West Des Moines, has recently added a special touch: the Templeton Rye Distillery Bar. We worked with their designers to recreate the personality and aura of our distillery inside their establishment.
The TR Distillery Bar will feature various Templeton Rye cocktails including the Rye and Ginger, Shirley Templeton, Classic Manhattan, Templeton Boilermaker and The Capone. The detailed recipes for these cocktails can also be found on our website’s barkeep page.
Iowa Liquor Commissioner Lynn Walding lends a hand on the bottling line.
Lynn Walding, Administrator of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, recently visited the Templeton Rye distillery and toured our updated production, laboratory, warehouse, bottling and storage facilities. Commissioner Walding was joined by Steve Kuzynowski, Design Engineer for the Iowa ABD.
The tour concluded with lunch at the legendary Corner Station in Templeton, where we discussed distilleries in Iowa and how the Iowa ABD division operates. Distilleries are relatively new to Iowa, so we’re all learning as we go. We really appreciate Commissioner Walding taking the time to visit and tour our new-and-improved facility. Lynn is a former NABCA President and is well-known in the industry.
On October 9, 2008, we rolled out a dozen barrels in Templeton to pull samples for tasting, testing and inventory. We proof tested the strength of the whiskey and tasted a sample from each barrel. The whiskey has been aging for roughly two-and-a-half years and is well on its way to becoming what you’d expect from Templeton Rye.
Templeton Rye Brand Manager Michael Killmer rolls out the barrels of whiskey.
Templeton the Turtle hatched on August 24, 2008 (one of 81 sibling loggerhead sea turtles from one nest). The nest had just survived the tempests of Tropical Storm Kay on the Georgia coast. Templeton was the second white turtle of the 2008 nesting season (that’s two among 8037 hatchlings). According to Gale, Templeton should return to St. Catherines Island in approximately 30 years as a sexually-mature sea turtle, after growing from the size of a silver dollar to the size of a large wash-tub. You can visit the SCI Sea Turtle Program website at www.scistp.org to learn about what’s happening with sea turtles on Georgia’s coast.
Gale also writes:
Templeton Rye is rapidly gaining favor (or is that flavor?) here on St. Catherines Island, which, in the best of Prohibition tradition, is “run in” by automobile from Northeast Iowa.
Thanks for the story, Gale! We’re delighted that Templeton Rye has found its way to Georgia, and we hope to spot Templeton the Turtle again in 30 years.
In September, we welcomed some friends from our Illinois distributor Judge & Dolph to spend a day in Templeton, Iowa. This included lunch at The Corner Station, a tour of the distillery and a “Templeton style” scavenger hunt.
We filmed part of our day, which can be viewed in the video below:
Pat and her husband Meryln are two of the original Templeton Rye employees. If you are a fan of The Good Stuff, you would probably recognize Pat’s handwriting as she fills out the batch, barrel and bottle numbers on the back of each bottle.
Pat was born on the south side of Des Moines and previously worked as a clerk at Templeton Savings Bank. Her main hobby is sewing, where she makes baby blankets for every single baby born at Manning Hospital. Amazingly, Pat is self-taught in the art of sewing and also makes baptismal gowns out of used wedding dresses. Our Iowa Magazine recently featured her work in a segment called “Iowa Go-Getters.”
Pat’s favorite food is spaghetti and she is most likely to be found at home cleaning on a Saturday afternoon. She lists her brother as her hero, adding “He went through a lot in his short life but was always helping someone, even me.”
Pat and Merlyn have two dachshunds, Penny and Molly and her favorite color is red. As a non-drinker, all she can say about the difference between Templeton Rye and the bootleg recipe is that Templeton Rye is legal.
Juli Hale from Des Moines, Iowa, shared this great TR cocktail recipe with us:
The Temptress Ginger Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup chopped fresh ginger
In a small saucepan combine water, sugar, and ginger. Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let cool to room temperature. Strain and discard ginger.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
Add the juice of half a lime
3/4 oz. ginger simple syrup
2 oz. Templeton rye
Cover and shake well; strain into a cocktail glass
This is the first cocktail I have ever created. As a recovering Mormon, I’m awfully proud of myself.