Chicago Attorney says Templeton Rye Misled Consumers

Oct 2, 2014

A lawsuit against Templeton Rye has received approval to proceed by the state attorney general’s office, but Founder Keith Kerkhoff says the allegations of the lawsuit are untrue. 

On Friday, September 26, Kirkhoff, whose family owns the recipe, released a statement to Iowa Public Radio stating that Templeton Rye is not stock whiskey and that the blending process that occurs in Templeton, Iowa is what makes the whiskey unique. 

"We have always said we had a third party contractor who works with our product... you have to understand the history of Templeton. My grandfather made this product, and when we wanted to resurrect it as a legal brand, the recipe would not qualify as a legal brand." 

Kirkhoff says that in order for Templeton Rye to recreate the whiskey, he sought out a whiskey maker who would make a rye whiskey, and then sent that product to Clarendon Engineering in Louisville, Kentucky. Claredone Engineering then worked out a process that would be legal that would replicate the taste of his grandfather's original recipe.

It's processed and bottled here in Templeton, produced. If you look up the word produced in the dictionary, it doesn't say distilling. - Keith Kerkhoff

He says it's true that the whiskey is not distilled in Templeton, Ia., but that it is "produced" there. 

Chicago based Edelson PC attorney Christopher Dore, who is bringing a class action suit against the company, says that Templeton Rye has been misleading consumers.

“They rely very heavily on their Iowa roots. People are looking for alternatives to the bigger companies… something that is more authentic. That is a major marketing point for the company,” Dore tells host Ben Kieffer.

Dore says the plaintiff in the case, who he describes as a connoisseur of whiskey, is upset that he’s been paying higher prices for Templeton Rye, a whiskey he thought was made in Iowa. 

Dore spoke with host Ben Kieffer on Friday, September 26, and Kerkhoff joined River to River on Friday, October 3.