DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Executives at Templeton Rye say they will change labels on bottles of their celebrated whiskey to clarify that the beverage is distilled in Indiana, not Iowa.
Company President Scott Bush and Chairman Vern Underwood told The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/1C9XkmD ) the company would change its labels after the newspaper published a story earlier this week in which industry experts questioned whether Templeton Rye met federal disclosure requirements.
"Currently there is some confusion. So all that confusion is going to be cleared up," Underwood said. "If it implies that the rye whiskey is made in Templeton, then that should be changed. Anything that is misleading should be changed."
Bush and Underwood also told the newspaper that Templeton Rye was distilled by MGP, a distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, using a stock recipe and not one derived from the whiskey's prohibition era past. After being distilled and aged in Indiana, the whiskey is sent to Templeton, where it's blended with other whiskies and water. It's then bottled and shipped.
Underwood said Templeton wasn't trying to deceive people by not listing the Indiana distillery on its labels.
"Why we didn't do it, I can't answer that," he said.
Since it began selling Templeton Rye in late 2005, the whiskey has been a big seller in Iowa and has emphasized its colorful history in the state. The company frequently notes its bootleg past and claims gangster Al Capone enjoyed the whiskey.
Marketing materials have noted that company co-founder, Maryl Kerkhoff, who has since died, learned how to produce prohibition-era Templeton rye from his father, who saved the recipe on an old scrap of paper.
The back label reads, "Now available for the first time, the infamous small batch rye whiskey returns."
Underwood said federal regulations wouldn't allow use of the recipe.
"There are certain laws about how bourbon has to be 51 percent corn. Rye whiskey has to be this. Fine," Underwood said. "It's very simply put: We buy the whiskey in barrels from (MGP)."
The company is working to build an Iowa distillery. If it can begin construction in 2015, it hopes to ship Iowa-distilled Templeton Rye as early as 2020 after aging.
Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com