WEST LIBERTY, Iowa – During the Great Depression, families did whatever they needed to make ends meet. For some farmers in Templeton, Iowa, “anything” turned out to be making bootleg whiskey.
The story of that Iowa town’s role in the government’s battle against booze is the subject of a movie shown at the New Strand Theater in West Liberty Saturday.
“Capone’s Whiskey: The Story of Templeton Rye” is the story of how a bootleg whiskey born in the Depression grew up to be a legitimate business in the post-Prohibition world.
Filmed by Kristian Day, 26, a Rock Island, Ill., native, the story of Templeton Rye features one of Prohibition’s most notorious players, Al Capone.
Although Prohibition ended in 1933, people in the community still made the “good stuff,” as the whiskey became known. One of the most prolific whiskey makers was Alphonse Kerkhoff, who was even busted twice by government agents during Prohibition. In 2001, Iowa native Scott Bush began working with Alphonse’s grandson, Keith, to re-establish the brand and get it on store shelves. The product was finally brought to market in 2006, though, according to the film, some people in the community still whip up a batch of their own whiskey.