History Lives in Every Bottle we Make

Born from the Prohibition-era Kerkhoff recipe nearly a century old, Templeton Rye’s history lives in every bottle we make.

A Small Iowa Town

It was in the early 1920s that many defiant residents of a small town in Iowa became outlaws — producing a high-caliber and much sought-after whiskey known as Templeton Rye. Thanks to its smooth finish, the American rye whiskey earned the nickname of The Good Stuff and quickly brought notoriety to the tiny town of Templeton with the population of only 350 people.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
Timeline 1882 - Templeton, Iowa is Established

Templeton, Iowa, is established

Established during the construction of the Chicago, Milwaukee and Pacific Railroads, Templeton’s roots lie in the rich farmland of Iowa. Since day one, farmers and town merchants have depended on each other to make a living. That unique brand of loyalty can still be found in the hearts of Templeton business owners today.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo

The Eighteenth Amendment is Proposed

On December 18, 1917, the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was officially proposed. Thus began the talk of Prohibition and subsequently — bootlegging.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
Timeline 1918 - Prohibition Act was passed.

A Law is Passed

In November of 1918, a temporary Wartime Prohibition Act was passed by Congress, banning the sale of beverages with an alcohol content greater than 2.75 percent. This took effect on July 1, 1919 — a date that became known as “Thirsty First.” The Eighteenth Amendment was then approved by the 36th state on January 16, 1919, leaving the country one year to go dry.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
Timeline 1920 - The beginning of prohibition

The Beginning of Prohibition

On January 17, 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment and Volstead Act go into effect, beginning the Prohibition era in the United States. With the quality and quantity of available spirits being squeezed dry, the daring residents of Templeton, Iowa, start producing a carefully crafted bootleg rye whiskey affectionately known as The Good Stuff.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo

The Heyday of Bootlegging

The high-caliber spirit finds its way to Chicago by way of cattle cars destined for the famed Chicago stockyards. It finds favor in the Windy City’s notorious speakeasies. The town of Templeton is soon supplying infamous bootleggers with kegs of what drinkers came to call The Good Stuff.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
Timeline 1933 - The end of Prohibition

The End of a Dry Spell

On December 5, 1933, the ratification of the Twenty-First Amendment repeals the Eighteenth Amendment, officially ending Prohibition on December 15. Small batches of The Good Stuff continue to be produced illegally and enjoyed inconspicuously by those in the know around Templeton.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo

A Celebration 100 Years in the Making

The town of Templeton celebrates its centennial with a three-day festival honoring its citizens and decorated history.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
Timeline 2006 - A Rye Renaissance

A Rye Renaissance

Sixty-eight barrels of Templeton Rye whiskey complete their four-year aging process. The spirit is bottled and finds its way to shelves legally for the first time thanks to the collaboration of co-founders Meryl Kerkhoff, Scott Bush, and Infinium Spirits, a division of Young’s Holdings, LLC.

Meryl Kerkhoff is son of Alphons Kerkhoff, who was one of the most prolific Prohibition-era producers of The Good Stuff. Meryl also enlists his son, Keith Kerkhoff, to join the Templeton team and carry on the family tradition.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo

In August, Templeton Rye begins distribution in Illinois — giving the state its first taste of The Good Stuff.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
Timeline 2008 - Keeping up with the demand

Keeping Up With Demand

The Templeton Rye facility is expanded to allow for more production to meet the growing demand. The automated bottling line arrives in Templeton during this expansion, providing a much quicker method to bottle The Good Stuff.

This same year, Templeton Rye whiskey wins four top awards at the prestigious Los Angeles Wine and Spirits Competition, which has been held for nearly seven decades.


  • Best of American Straight Rye
  • Best of Whiskey
  • Overall Packaging Design
  • Gold Medal, American Straight Rye Whiskey category
Templeton Rye Timeline logo

At the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Tasting, Templeton Rye takes home a gold medal. More than 800 spirits from 60 countries entered the competition, which was judged by 25 renowned industry experts.

Templeton Rye is named "Rye Whiskey of the Year" in the 2009 Whiskey Bible by Jim Murray, one of the most well-known tasters in the industry.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo

After helping spark the resurgence of Templeton Rye, Meryl Kerkhoff passes away July 29, 2010, at the age of 81.

Volunteer bottling starts, with people from the town, state and country traveling to Templeton to help bottle our hometown whiskey. With this help, Templeton Rye is ready for purchase by the holidays.

Templeton Rye earns a second consecutive gold medal at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Tasting. Thirty renowned industry experts judged 1,000 spirits from 58 countries.

Templeton Rye hits the coasts in December, with product launches in New York City and San Francisco.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
Timeline 2012 - Templeton Rye barrel tree

The Templeton Rye barrel Tree

The photo-famous Templeton Rye barrel tree is constructed, and the first annual tree lighting ceremony takes place that holiday season. This event has since become an annual tradition with tours, guest speakers, hot cocoa and, of course, Templeton Rye.

Templeton Rye expands its distribution efforts to bring The Good Stuff to the states surrounding Iowa.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
Timeline 2013 - Templeton Rye hits one-millionth-bottle mark

One Million

Templeton Rye hits the one-millionth-bottle mark. To celebrate this milestone, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad comes to Templeton to bottle the extra special bottle of Templeton Rye whiskey.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo

National Distribution

Templeton Rye marks another major milestone by establishing national distribution, partnering with distributors throughout the United States.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
Timeline 2014- Creating Community

Creating Community

The Templeton Community Center was built, remodeling and reconstructing the old Templeton High School, which had sat vacant for years. The new community center provides a much-needed venue for local events, weddings, church gatherings and more.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo

Templeton Rye goes international and begins distribution in Canada.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
Timeline 2016- A Day to Remember

A Day to Remember

Templeton Rye officially proclaimed January 17 National Bootleggers Day. In 1920, the 17th marked the start of Prohibition and the birth of Templeton Rye. Templeton’s own Meryl Kerkhoff was also born on this day.

Bootleggers across the nation came out to celebrate Templeton Rye and enjoy a glass of The Good Stuff. Mark your calendars to join us next year!

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
Timeline 2016- Good Whiskey Gets Better with Age

Good Whiskey Gets Better with Age

Templeton Rye releases its first new product in over a decade — Templeton Rye 6 Year. Aged six years in new American Oak barrels, this limited release of Templeton Rye is 91.5 proof with an unforgettable flavor.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
Timeline 2016- Ten years strong

Ten Years Strong

Templeton Rye celebrates 10 years of The Good Stuff with a special reserve 10th anniversary whiskey. Featuring a smooth body and a long finish, the Templeton Rye 10 Year is a testament to the people and the strong community spirit of Templeton, Iowa.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
2017 - A Great Day for The Good Stuff

A Great Day for The Good Stuff

Templeton Rye breaks ground on the Templeton distillery expansion. Complete with a museum and a 55,000-square-foot barrel aging warehouse, the construction of Templeton Rye’s 34,000-square-foot distillery marks a huge step forward for The Good Stuff.

Templeton Rye Timeline logo
A Homecoming

A Homecoming

Templeton Rye has come a long way from its roots in the hidden, outlawed stills of 1920s Carroll County. The sparkling new production facility that opened this year includes an a distillery, an aging warehouse, and a visitor center that features a museum highlighting the town’s history. This distillery is a testament to our commitment to Templeton, Iowa, where The Good Stuff is made.

Based on the prohibition era Kerkhoff recipe.