National Bootlegger's Day

National Bootlegger's Day is observed next on Friday, January 17th, 2025 (240 days from today).

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National Bootlegger’s Day on January 17th annually is to recognize bootleggers became legendary.

National Bootlegger's Day History

Founded by Infinium Spirits in 2015, National Bootlegger Day celebrates the birth of Templeton Rye, a rye whiskey, and recognizes an era when shoe polishers have become legends. Besides Templeton Rye's inception, January 17th is Al Capone's birthday, the date Prohibition went into effect and the birth date of Meryl Kerkhoff, one of the founders of the reintroduced Templeton Rye brand, who was the son of one of the Prohibition Templeton Rye distillers, Alphonse Kerkhoff.

The ban went into effect on January 17, 1920, banning the production, transportation, and sale of alcohol. It didn't stop demand for alcohol, so smugglers came to the scene to help meet the demand. They smuggled alcohol from Canada and Mexico, then, sold it to individuals and to establishments like speakeasies. This led to the rise of gangsters and Mafia, and characters like Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and Bugs Moran became household names.

With the beginning of Prohibition, residents of the small town of Templeton began producing what known as Templeton Rye, or "The Good Stuff," an amber-colored rye whiskey. The distillers were mainly farmers looking to increase their income, the most notable of which was Alphonse Kerkhoff. The whiskey arrived in Chicago in cattle carts headed to Chicago stockpiles. It has not only become popular in the speakers of Chicago but is also found in its homeland in the speakeasies of Michigan, Kansas City and Omaha. After becoming Al Capone's favorite whiskey, it was given another name: Capone's Whiskey. Some residents around Templeton continued to work illegally after the Prohibition was lifted.

Templeton Rye returned to store shelves—legally this time—in 2006, based on a recipe from Prohibition, and aged in freshly burned oak barrels. The new company was founded by Scott Bush and Meryl Kerkhoff, son of Alphonse Kerkhoff, in collaboration with Infinium Spirits, who later organized National Launch Day. At first, whiskey was distilled and aged in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and Templeton was used only for bottling. Nowadays, you can found a distillery and visitor center in Templeton. Templeton Rye began nationwide distribution in 2013 and became available outside of the United States in 2015.

How to Observe National Bootlegger's Day

  • Enjoy a bottle of Templeton Rye with friends or family. Maybe you can try a new recipe while you're making it.
  • Post about a date on social media using the hashtags # #BootleggersDay or #TempletonRye.
  • Visit Templeton, Iowa, and stop by the Templeton Rye distillery and visitor center.
  • Pretend like you're a smuggler and make your own rye whiskey.
  • Watch Capone's Whiskey: A Tale of Templeton Rye or Prohibition.
  • Read a book about trophies.


National Bootlegger's Day has been observed annually on January 17th.


Tuesday, January 17th, 2023

Wednesday, January 17th, 2024

Friday, January 17th, 2025

Saturday, January 17th, 2026

Sunday, January 17th, 2027

Founded by

Infinium Spirits in June 2015

Also on Friday, January 17th, 2025

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