The distillers of a popular prohibition-era whiskey will help raise funds tonight for the small western Iowa town made famous by the alcoholic beverage. The Third Annual Rock and Rye celebration is organized in part by the makers of Templeton Rye – which opened it’s distillery in the Carroll County town in 2005.
Distillery manager Kevin Boersma says the event will include tours of the Templeton Rye facility and a concert by The Nadas, a Des Moines based band that wrote a song titled “Templeton Rye.” The whiskey was first produced illegally in the 1920s and was even supplied to Al Capone’s gang in Chicago.
In 2006, Templeton Rye became legal for the first time. Fans of the whiskey find it hard to come by. Boersma says right now, demand is far outpacing supply. “I guess it’s a good problem to have. It’s not only frustrating to the consumer, it’s getting a little frustrating for us,” Boersma said. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel. In the middle of November, we’ll have a significant batch that’s going to be available.”
It takes four years to age and produce a batch of Templeton Rye. The man responsible for helping to re-craft Templeton Rye died this past Thurday. Meryl Kerkhoff was 81. Boersma expects a special tribute to Kerkhoff will be part of tonight’s festivities.
“I’m sure there will be a few wet eyes,” Boersma said. Kerkhoff was a child of the Depression who was born just a mile away from the company’s current distillery in Templeton. He learned to distill whiskey at a young age and had been taught to never discuss Templeton Rye, particularly with strangers.
But in 2001, he passed along secret recipes for the mash to his son Keith and Scott Bush – who bought the brand and now serves as president of Templeton Rye. All of the proceeds from tonight’s Rock and Rye event will benefit the Templeton Community Betterment Association. Boersma expects the event will raise up to $10,000.
Learn more online: www.TempletonRye.com