Well, its December 8th, the day after the heavens were supposed to open and Templeton Rye was supposed to fall down into our local liquor stores like alcohol-infused manna. Hate to break it to you, but the stores have already run out of Templeton Rye. I was talking to an acquaintance of mine and we both agreed that at this point, after a full-page spread in the Des Moines Register, we would both feel ashamed to even ask if there is any Templeton Rye available. Well, no worry, its gone, at least for now. Supposedly, this is the fault of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division, which is rumored to be metering out its supplies so it does not run out half way through the year. Well, I have to say that because of the lack of Templeton Rye in the bars I’ve experienced some other premium rye whiskeys and they have, honestly, left me wondering how much of this Templeton Rye craze is just that — a craze, a marketing craze at that. Of course it is a craze that other small batch distillers can only wish for.
It is also worth noting that small batch distilleries are starting to pop up around the Midwest. Here in Iowa we have Clearheart Spirits which makes “super-premium” distilled vodka, gin and rum in a 35 gallon copper pot. They advertise their distillery as being the first post-prohibition distillery in Iowa. The NY Times has raved about the triple-distilled vodka. I’ve not found it for sale anywhere yet, but I only recently started the search. Website: http://www.clearheartspirits.com/
Nebraska has both Coopers Chase and Sòlas Distillery starting up production of new lines. Coopers Chase claims it is the first federal and state licensed distillery, with its vodka being the first in its line to be produced. Their website is interesting if only because of the spooky age-check first page and its very odd use of the English language. I don’t think that they hired a professional to write the copy for that website (but they should): http://www.cooperschase.com/
Sòlas Distillery makes Joss Vodka, which is the first in that distillery’s planned line of products. In contrast to their local competitor, their website is a work of art and actually makes me want to buy and try their vodka. http://www.jossvodka.com/. Sòlas Distillery is the brainchild of Zac Triemert, who reportedly has plans for additional spirits, including a bourbon and a rum. Sòlas Distillery is associated with Lucky Bucket Brewing. Our Man in Omaha has previously written about Lucky Bucket beer. Lucky Bucket is available in local Hy-Vee stores in Iowa. Trust me, you will be hearing more about Joss Vodka, Solas Distillery, and Lucky Bucket.
I am hoping that the crazy fervor devoted to Templeton Rye will spill over to these other local distilleries who actually make their product around these here parts and not in Indiana!