Templeton Rye Whiskey making a name for Iowa - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Templeton Rye Whiskey making a name for Iowa

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -  Eight years ago, an Iowa company got it's start. While it's a fairly young business, many across the country know the name.

Germination, stilling, fermenting, bottling; all of these are lengthy, meticulous steps in the whiskey brewing process. 

Templeton Rye whiskey distillery in Templeton, Iowa, seems to have it down to a science.

"We're still very small on the grand scheme of things, but there's a lot of Templeton fans around the country," Scott Bush, President of Templeton Rye said.

Their success doesn't come without lack of experience. Templeton Rye whiskey was first made during prohibition in the 1920s, and was always around, but never a licensed brand until Christmas Eve of 2005. 

"Post prohibition, all of the legal brands came back, and Templeton continued to be made illegally, but it dwindled away to the point where it was virtually extinct," Bush said.

Templeton's now-president Scott Bush is a great-nephew of some of the original producers of the rye whiskey. When he learned Templeton Rye had been all but lost, he said he wanted to make sure the history was preserved.

"I grew up hearing the stories about Templeton Rye, and as I got older, I just thought, 'man, that story and that history is something that should not go away,'" Bush said.

Figuring out how all of this product is made can be something of a complicated chemistry lesson. But once all of the science is done, the bottles are shipped out to 40 states, and the owners say that the customers are very satisfied.

"People from Iowa are so proud. They come and tell me all the time, 'Oh, I saw a bottle of Templeton in San Francisco at this cool bar.' It's just sort of a way to brand the state of Iowa in a really neat way I think," Bush said. 

Scott says a lot of the fans of Templeton are still close to home and love to pay the distillery a visit. 

Gus Schroeder, the son of one of the original suppliers in prohibition times, used to help distribute it himself. His family got into the business when a truck driver came knocking one day.

"When this truck driver saw our location, and our set up, he said, 'Frank,' that was my father's name, 'You've got the most ideal setup for a still that I've come across in all my travels,'" Schroeder said.

After the truck driver offered the family thirty dollars a week to set up on the family farm, they set to work straight away.
"They remodeled an old hog house, cleaned it out of the hogs, scrubbed it, made it immaculately clean, and then they started producing," Schroeder said.

Scott Bush says he loves being in the community where Templeton started all those years ago.

"Templeton was always illegal, so there's not a lot of documented history, but there's a ton of oral history. So we've interviewed all these old timers about Templeton Rye and I think we have over a hundred videos on YouTube now of people telling these stories, and they're so rich and so interesting," Bush said.

If you ask Scott to tell these stories, though, he says it just may take all day.

"There's so many cool stories. We have the 'Last Step House' across the street, where supposedly a gentleman was making Templeton in the basement and became engulfed in the fumes and tried to get out, and made it to the last step. There's a tombstone in town that's hollowed because it used to be a drop point for Templeton Rye," Bush said.

And some say you can taste that rich, smooth, interesting history in every sip of Templeton Rye.

If you'd like to read more about the history of Templeton Rye, click here.

If you'd like to see other videos about the history of Templeton Rye Whiskey, click here.
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