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Meet the Templeton Rye team

Here’s a closer look at the hard-working team behind Templeton Rye.

Meryl (1929-2010) & Keith Kerkhoff

Meryl & Keith Kerkhoff

LEFT: Meryl Kerkhoff. RIGHT: Keith Kerkhoff.

Meryl learned how to make Templeton Rye from his father Alphonse. It was said that Alphonse was the only person in Templeton who could carry two 100-lb. sacks a half mile (the distance assumed safe from the revenuers).

Meryl and his wife, Imelda, made their home in Manning, Iowa, where Meryl worked as an auctioneer. Meryl was born in Templeton and graduated in the top seven in his class at Sacred Heart High School. He loved to give tours of the area and could tell you who owned what farm and who was “cookin’ whiskey” going back four generations.

Meryl was a veteran of the Korean War and father of seven. He was the Master Distiller at Templeton Rye and passed away during the summer of 2010.

Meryl’s son Keith, remembers Alphonse heading out to make whiskey, and is meticulous about keeping up the quality production started by his grandfather. Keith was an All American defensive tackle at Buena Vista College and spent time with both the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears in the NFL.

Keith is also involved in the family auctioneering business and can light up a room with a funny story or magic trick. Keith is the Assistant Master Distiller at Templeton Rye.


Scott Bush

Scott Bush

Scott also has roots in Templeton Rye as his great grandfather Frank used to make The Good Stuff outside of Odebolt, Iowa. His great-uncle Gus is featured on our website.

Scott grew up in Wall Lake, Iowa, and is a banker-turned-bootlegger, having worked for First Chicago/JP Morgan in Chicago and New York. His wife, Jessica, hails from Boston and they lived in Cambridge together for four years while Scott attended MIT. He was inspired to resurrect Templeton Rye based both on his family history with the product, and to fight the homogenization of the U.S. As Scott says, “People are drawn to great stories and great products that are unique. They are getting hard to find.”

Scott is the President of Templeton Rye and enjoys sports, reading and hanging out with his sons Adrian, Xavier, and daughter Mary.


Michael Killmer

Michael Killmer

Michael Killmer (AKA “Catfish”) has spent many years in the hospitality industry before and after attending Iowa State University. He is the National Brand Manager at Templeton Rye and chances are, if you’ve ever been poured a sample of “The Good Stuff”, Michael was the one tipping the bottle.

Michael’s pride and joy is his yellow lab Dixie, who Michael trained as a stellar hunting companion. When he is not introducing the world to Templeton Rye, Michael is fond of hunting, Cyclone athletics, wine and gourmet cooking.

PHOTO CREDIT: Mandy Miller Photography.–>


Kevin Boersma

Kevin Boersma

Kevin was runner-up in the Manning, Iowa, mayoral election several years ago despite not declaring as a candidate and receiving only write-in votes. He was once known as “Big Cat” around town, but for reasons unknown, his nickname has morphed into “Fat Cat” the last few years.

Kevin is the Distillery Manager at TR, a four handicap, and a huge Iowa Hawkeyes fan. He is also a staple at the VFW and Manning Bowling Alley.


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