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OUR HISTORY

The history of Iowa Legendary Rye comes from Templeton, a humble town in Carroll County, Iowa and a woman by the name of Lorine Sextro. Faced with the Great Depression of the 1930s most families struggled to make ends meet. Bootlegging became the profession of choice in Iowa. The Sextro family took part by letting bootleggers make rye whiskey on their property. That wasn’t enough though, Lorine Sextro had other plans. This is the story behind the legend.

1911 A Legend is born Lorine Sextro was born in Halbur, Iowa November 22, 1911. She married Frank Sextro in 1932. They made their home on Frank's family farm between Templeton and Manning in Carroll County.
1917 Iowa votes on Prohibition With pressure to criminalize the sale and consumption of alcohol rising, Iowa voters reject a state Prohibition referendum on October 15, 1917 by 50.1% to 49.9% allowing alcohol sales to continue.
1919 18th Amendment passes The Federal government passes the 18th Amendment on October 28, 1919 banning all alcohol production and sales in the United States.
1920 Prohibition begins A nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States begins January 17, 1920.
1932 The Legend begins As the Great Depression continues to have an affect on the economy, the Sextro family begins housing a bootlegger in the attic of their Carroll County family farm in January, 1932. WATCH
1932 Lorine Sextro begins distilling With a family to support, Lorine Sextro learns from the bootlegger she's housing and begins distilling her own small batch 100 percent rye whiskey at her Carroll County farm in May, 1932. PODCAST
1933 Feds raid farm Due to an error identifying the correct address, a neighboring farm was raided by Federal agents looking for illegal whiskey in May, 1933. Barrels made at the Sextro farm are said to be buried in nearby fields in Carroll County. Their whereabouts are still a mystery today. The Sextro family was never caught.
1933 18th Amendment repealed President Roosevelt ratifies the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933 repealing the 18th Amendment in the process. It ends the unpopular nationwide prohibition of alcohol.
1989 Family secret revealed Lorine Sextro, now a grandma, shares her bootlegging past and passes on her secret rye recipe at aged 78 to a family friend. She refused to let her children know in case they got in trouble with the law.
2015 The Legend resurrects Iowa Legendary Rye begins production using Grandma Sextro’s Prohibition-era recipe and distilling process. Rye is made in 26 gallon stills and aged in 15 gallon barrels. When Grandma Sextro was asked why she did it this way she respond, "Have you ever tried running from the law with a 40 gallon barrel?!" OUR RYE
2015 First bottle sold legally The first bottle of Iowa Legendary Rye ever made legally is sold in December, 2015. STORE LOCATOR
2018 Keeping it in the family Grandma Sextro’s grandson Heath Schneider joins Iowa Legendary Rye after learning about his family's past in a news story. BUY ONLINE
2019 Buried treasure The hunt for the Prohibition-era barrels of rye said to have been buried in a Carroll County field continues using specially trained sniffer dogs. WATCH THE DISCOVERY
Present day The legend continues follow us