You know that rye whiskey you can’t find? Scott Bush makes it. We sat down with the 36-year-old Templeton Rye owner for a Belgian white and a shot of The Good Stuff (of course) at Court Avenue Brewing Co.
Q: You were in China last week?
I was indeed. I’m a part of DISCUS, the Distilled Spirits Council. It wasn’t really Templeton Rye, per se, it was more about spreading the word about American spirits over there in China. It was an opportunity for me to go over there and learn something, so that eventually when Templeton is at the level we can go over there. It was laying groundwork.
Q: What’s the market like over there for American spirits?
It’s just getting started. Less than 1 percent of what they drink in China is U.S. spirits. But even 5 percent of that market would be huge. It’s evolving.
Q: So do you keep a running tally of which bars have been serving Templeton Rye?
Yes, absolutely. We’re in a tough spot in that it’s our fault at the base level because we don’t have enough product. But it’s also the way the Iowa system works. It’s very hard for bars to get Templeton, so they have to basically go out to the store and buy it, and that’s asking a lot.
We’re just launching our batch five, and we try to take a nice step up each year. So in Iowa this year we’re going to sell almost half of our product in November and December. We know we don’t have enough product to meet demand, so what we’re trying to do is load it toward the holidays. So folks ought to be able to find it for the next 60-90 days, and we’re trying to encourage bars to stock up for 2012.
Q: I was at an out-of-the-way liquor store a few weeks ago and asked if they had Templeton. They said “How many bottles do you want?” So I stocked up.
We recognize that it’s annoying, but on the bright side it’s somewhat of an adventure. It’s counterintuitive, but we tell people to check Joe’s bait shop and liquor store in some small town.
Q: I was at Bacon Fest when you mentioned that the HBO show “Boardwalk Empire” asked for some barrels and crates.
They’ve been on this year, but not quite as prevalent as we maybe would have hoped or liked. Capone is sort of being featured more in the show, so we hope as that happens, Templeton will become more and more prevalent. We’ll see. If it happens, it’s nice.