Owners of whiskey maker Templeton Rye defend their marketing as company faces lawsuits

DES MOINES, Iowa – The final ingredients of Templeton Rye are blended in Iowa, meaning the whiskey is made in the state, according to company owners who responded to several recent lawsuits alleging consumers were deceived by the product’s Indiana-based distilling process.

Co-founder Keith Kerkhoff told The Des Moines Register ( ) the Iowa-based company adds its own ingredients to the whiskey at their Templeton facility.

“Templeton Rye is very unique,” he said Monday. “To say it’s a stock whiskey made in Indiana that goes directly into the bottle is totally false. It couldn’t be further from the truth.”

The company has been under scrutiny after revealing they use a stock rye whiskey from an Indiana distillery before blending it with other ingredients in Iowa. At least three lawsuits claiming the company deceived customers are pending.

There’s also been criticism over Templeton’s marketing, which indicates the whiskey is a prohibition-era recipe handed down by Kerkhoff’s grandfather.

Kerkhoff said federal regulations wouldn’t allow use of the recipe because its rye content was too low to be called a rye whiskey. But the company wanted to capitalize on the popularity of the rye whiskey made in Templeton during prohibition, he said.

“(Templeton Rye) was known in New York City, it was known in San Francisco,” Kerkhoff said. “It had a real rich history. We wanted to stay with the name Templeton Rye . that’s why we had to do what we did.”

Kerkhoff said Templeton Rye has worked with a Kentucky flavour-engineering company to help replicate the taste of the prohibition-era whiskey.

Kerkhoff also said the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau previously approved the company’s labels and completed audits without mentioning any concerns about consumer fraud. Messages left with the bureau were not immediately returned Tuesday.

The company announced in August that it will change its labels to show it’s distilled in Indiana.


Information from: The Des Moines Register,