Templeton Rye whiskey settles lawsuits

14th July, 2015 by Melita Kiely

Templeton Rye has reached a settlement to change its labels and provide refunds to customers who claim they were misled into believing the whiskey is made in Iowa.


Three lawsuits were filed against Templeton Rye alleging the brand misled consumers with its labelling

The settlement between the brand and three class-action lawsuits requires Templeton Rye to change the labels on its bottles and the wording on its website, according to The Des Moines Register.

Furthermore, the agreement also asks Templeton Rye to set aside a lump sum of money that may be used to refund customers who bought a bottle of the whiskey.

The document is waiting to be filed in an Illinois chancery court where two out of the three lawsuits were filed and as such dull details of the settlement have not yet been disclosed.

A judge must now approve the settlement and give class certification, which will decide how many people could potentially be entitled to a refund.

In September 2014, Templeton Rye changed its labels to clarify the whiskey is distilled in Indiana, not Templeton, Iowa, after a spate of allegations the brand may be “misleading” consumers.

The move came as a result of the first lawsuit filed by lawyers for Chicago-based Christopher McNair who aimed to represent “all individuals in the United States who have purchased a bottle of Templeton Rye” with his suit.

Restaurant owner Mario Aliano, also residing in Chicago, filed a second lawsuit, while a third was taken out by two Iowa residents seeking to represent a class of only Iowa drinkers.

The lawyers for each complainant worked together to reach a settlement.

Co-founder Keith Kerkhoff defended the brand in October last year, following the filing of a third lawsuit that accused the brand of deceiving customers by claiming the spirit is distilled using a “Prohibition-era recipe”, focusing on its ties to Chicago bootlegger Al Capone.

Templeton Rye is not a direct replication of a Prohibition-era recipe but the product of a Kentucky flavour engineering company that has developed a list of ingredients to emulate the taste of a recipe passed down through Kerkhoff’s family, which is then belnded with the stock whiskey at the Templeton distillery.

Kerkhoff argued Templeton Rye could still claim the product was locally made because the brand adds its own ingredients at the Templeton facility.

“Templeton Rye is very unique,” he told The Des Moines Register. “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.”

2 Responses to “Templeton Rye whiskey settles lawsuits”

  1. Chuck W says:

    pants on fire!! ” Add’s its own ingredients” guessing .. WATER

  2. Mark C says:

    I have a bottle on the shelf and it clearly says Prohibition era recipe. There is also a small label above the main label on the back of the bottle which emphasizes “The good stuff from Iowa.” It is an okay rye, but not especially great.

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