Templeton Rye in Templeton, Iowa
When the pandemic hit Iowa, the staff at Templeton Rye felt fortunate. Their production was nearly uninterrupted and the very nature of whiskey distilling already promoted social distancing. Yet they felt a great desire to help stem the impact of COVID-19 on the state to which the global brand is fiercely loyal.
Supplying a critical ingredient
“We were really exploring different ways that we could help out and give back,” says Tim Grimes, senior brand ambassador for Templeton Rye. “So when Iowa Prison Industries reached out, we felt fortunate. By contributing to their efforts, we knew we’d be able to have a larger impact.”
Iowa Prison Industries (IPI) set out to make hand sanitizer, which continues to be in high demand across the country, to help curb the spread of COVID-19. But the work-training program was missing key ingredients to successfully manufacture the alcohol-based gel. In particular IPI needed a lot of distilled water.
In total Templeton Rye donated 4,500 gallons of distilled water from its own reverse osmosis water treatment system, which cleans and purifies water. That donation translated into 27,000 of gallons of sanitizer that is being used by the prison system, schools, medical providers and more.
“There’s something really great about the idea that Iowa water from an Iowa business was used to help Iowans,” said Grimes.
Collaborating to create a one-of-a-kind whiskey
In the same way the company gave to IPI, Templeton Rye felt compelled to give back to the very people who pour, mix and serve their premium whiskey — the servers and bartenders working in Iowa’s hospitality industry. Grimes commented, “They were hurting really badly at that time — lots of people were out of work as establishments were closing.”
In collaboration with five other local distilleries, Templeton Rye donated a full barrel of its product to be blended with others and create a distinct whiskey called Distiller’s Handshake. This one-of-a-kind product was bottled in Iowa and hand labeled. Once sales were final, the distillery collaborators were able to donate just under 10 thousand dollars to the Iowa Restaurant Employee Relief Fund External Site.
“It was wildly successful, and we sold out in Iowa within a week,” said Grimes.
Well covered with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Since the pandemic struck Iowa in March, Grimes says Templeton Rye has experienced relatively little impact to its business — especially when compared to other distilleries across the country. And, they are grateful for that.
As with any employer, Templeton was concerned about the health and safety of its employees. So they encouraged everyone to take care of themselves, follow expert advice and stay home if any symptoms pop up.
“While we are on the small side as far as staffing, we have a very broad range of ages on our team — 80 years old to young people in their mid-twenties. Everyone's health care needs and attitudes are very, very different," said Grimes.
What Templeton didn’t worry about was their health care coverage.
“We consider ourselves really fortunate that we have partnered with Wellmark,” said Grimes. “The plan that we have out there — we really felt like everyone was covered well, so we didn’t worry about that even with the pandemic.”
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Thank you to Templeton Rye for sharing their story with us.