When Prohibition outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in 1920, many enterprising residents of a small town in Iowa chose to become outlaws – producing a high caliber and much sought-after whiskey known as Templeton Rye.
Based on its extremely smooth finish, the American rye whiskey earned the nickname of “The Good Stuff” and quickly brought a certain degree of fame to the doorsteps of Templeton (pop. 350). As the premium brand of the era, Templeton Rye fetched an impressive $5.50 per gallon – or approximately $70 by today’s standards.
Over the course of its storied history, Templeton Rye became Al Capone’s whiskey of choice, quickly finding its way to the center of his bootlegging empire. Hundreds of kegs per month were supplied to Capone’s gang who in turn filled the demand of speakeasies throughout Chicago, New York and as far west as San Francisco.
Capone was eventually convicted on charges of tax evasion and sent to prison. Later legends suggest that a few bottles even found their way inside the walls of Alcatraz to the cell of prisoner AZ-85.
Although most American whiskeys ceased production after prohibition ended, Templeton Rye continued to be produced illegally in small quantities for loyal patrons. More than eighty-five years later, the infamous rye whiskey finally returned – made available legally for the first time ever in 2006.