New York – Jewish Whiskey Market Now Has Full Attention Of Whisky Makers


    FILE -  event at Beth Sholom Congregation & Talmud Torah.New York – On the heels of the massive success of last year’s Whisky Jewbilee, an inaugural whiskey tasting event, sponsored by the fledgling Jewish Whisky Company and held on the eve of WhiskyFest to accommodate observant Jews, whiskey makers world-wide are lining up to make in-roads in the highly refined Jewish whiskey market.

    The NEW YORK TIMES ( reports that makers of fine bourbon and scotch whiskeys, including Glenrothes, Glenmorangie, Ardberg, Bowmore, and Auchentoshan are increasingly becoming more active in courting the Jewish market.

    Some whiskey makers, like the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, have sought help from agencies like the Chicago Rabbinical Council in developing new kosher certified whiskey.

    Locally, Jason Johnstone-Yellin, a co-partner in The Jewish Whisky Company, said that last year’s inaugural Whisky Jewbilee really turned industry heads when hundreds of observant Jews, previously restricted from attending the Friday and Saturday WhiskyFest event, flocked to the Thursday evening event.

    Johnstone-Yellin said organizers of this year’s Whisky Jewbilee have been besieged with requests from new distillers looking to be included in this year’s tasting.

    FILE - A decent time at a little event which they called Whisky Jewbilee! Oct. 25 2012

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    1. Nothing to be proud of. I have seen too many yidden get intoxicated at kiddushes and simchas. I also find a certain degree of snobbishness involved. People trying to top one another on who has the more expensive single malt scotch at their Kiddush. I also believe it has led to more teenage drinking as the kids copy their fathers. Are we trying to compete with the Irish?

    2. I went last year, and I am actually in that picture, It was a very respectful event, most people did not swallow what they tasted, they had spittoons on every table.
      People don’t come there to get drunk, all the proceeds went to charity, and we got a chance to try new things and meet new people.

      I am really looking forward to going to the next one.

      And FYI, I took a car service home.

    3. as a veteran whisky lover and not a drunk or alcoholic, I have investigated much whiskies.
      All bourbons are kosher unless they have something added for sweetness, why? since the US law (without trying to be kosher) prohibits American bourbon from using any ingredients other than those that are kosher,
      Scotch is different. The low priced ones like Chevis and JB, etc have no non kosher elements in them, but the more expensive ones have been cured in various types of wine casks (barrels). R. Moshe gave a heter to drink them, but the chassidic velt and some of the very frum litvaks don’t use it.
      The best whiskey for the money is Jim Beam, it is the chevy of whiskeys. You have to pay much much more to beat it.
      Today much snob appeal is introduced into selling high priced whiskies, with mentions of fragrant nodes and other BS. Stay away from trying to impress your friends, they will not understand a good whiskey.
      Remember Jim Beam and Jack Daniels are your best buddies for taste and price.

      • Buddy, I’m sure you can appretiate that tastes are personal, some people like white wine, some red, some Scotch, some Bourbon. All just personal taste. I really don’t care for bourbons at all, I find the wood influence too overpowering, maybe with some ice they are nice, but overall I like Scotch much better.
        Everyone is in a different financial position, and different whiskies offer different things, I rarely buy multiples of the same bottle, just too many to try, most of my guests have no idea what they are drinking, and I try to offer them something that I think they will like, I have my own tastes, and I like new and different things.

        Although, a mint Julep, made with some Jim Beam Black is very special.

      • I am intrigued by your words “some of the very frum litvaks don’t use it”. Does being very frum and not abiding by Rabbi Moshe’s Psak seem synonymous to you? I think instead of being very frum, these people are very “frai” as halachah is not a one way road of chumrah. That is more of a Catholic philosophy that unfortunately is creeping its way into Judaism.

        • “Chumras” and “S’yog L’Torah” is oftentimes discussed and encouraged in the Talmud and Posskim.

          Frequently, Reb Moshe Z’L himself has written after many a Hetter that he encourages stringency in the matter discussed.
          i.e. At the conclusion of his famous Hetter for consuming “Cholov Stam (Akim)” he writes that a “Bal Nefesh” (loosely translated = a careful person) is advised to be Machmir.

          It’s the way of the Torah!

          For instance, there are many people that, if they drop dry clean food on a dry clean floor, they will brush it off and eat it.
          Some will only abide by the supposed “5 second rule”.
          And some, strongly health conscious people, will not eat it at all !!

          Same applies when a fly or bee lands in my drink or soup…

          Get it?

        • p.s.
          I feel I need to mention that, to some degree, you are correct.

          Chumros and Frumkeit should be limited to within reason and sensibilities as discussed by the Rambam.

          Many people that are not properly guided and anchored by the Torah and Chazal do tend to overdo it. (Or under do it…)

          But being so dismissive about the general idea of extra stringencies, is just plain wrong.

      • NOT TRUE – Many bourbons are non-kosher despite all kosher ingredients as the distillery owners are non-observant Jews rendering the bourbon chametz sheavar alav hapesach and absolutely forbidden. Please consult the CRC or Star-K liquor lists.

    4. I have seen it over & over & over. Companies DO listen to consumers. If you see a product and would like to see it kosher, call or email the company, ask them if they are certified and if so by whom. If it is certified and you aren’t sure of the hechsher, call a kashrus pro or your local Vaad & ask.

      For example, “Two If By Tea” is now OU (with the OU on the label) because of consumer inquiries.

    5. Also, one must speak to their Rav, but there are no additional additives in Blended Scotch whisky like Chivas, it’s against Scottish law, although they may be aged in ex-wine casks, speak to you Rav, but mine said that I can drink em.

    6. There is a least one kiddush club at a shul in Brooklyn and another in 5Ts that are now “sponsored” by kosher distillers. Soon we will see small brass plaques on the rebbe’s shtender in the beis medrash with the name of some “spirit-related” donor.

    7. There is a sefer “Sherry Casks” which explains the use of wine casks in the manufacture of scotch whisky. My son, who is a wine mashgiach for Herzog, is very active in supervision of whiskys.

    8. jack daniels is kosher, taste is dependent on the tongue, and any whiskey owned by Jews has problems of chometz sh’over aluv haPesach. Rav Moshe gave a heter, some use it some don’t.

      to me Jim Beam and Jack Daniels are good drinking friends, don’t need to spend more money except when you want to impress someone.

      • Please provide a reference for Rav Moshe’s heter regarding chometz sh’over aluv Hapesach. As you may know, several years ago the AOK circulated a list of whiskeys produced by privately owned company which the organization said could not be used because of chometz sh’over aluv Hapesach. These included some well known bourbons — including Blanton’s and (much to #13’s chagrin) all Pappy Van Winkle products.

    9. I like Koval Distillery, under the OU, because:
      1) It’s here in Chicago, IL
      2) owned by Jews (fry) & closed during Pesach
      3) It’s certified Organic
      4) They use the “Hearts” only, no “Tails” in their whiskey (best reason of all)

    10. Whiskey is not technically chometz. The distillation process renders it not technically chometz, but as a chometz derivative it should not be consumed.

    11. Everyone has their favourite and most of us are snobs.
      To prove my point. every purim at the sudah in our shul i have a contest.
      I pour, and here are the criteria, a bottle of single malt scotch into aplain decanter. The price of the scotch must be under 100 dollars.and readily available in our liquor stores i buy 2 of the same bottle.
      U put whatever u want into the pushke and then try it. If u guess correctly you win the 2nd bottle i bought. You only get one chance guess and u cant tell anyone else what your guess was. so no process of elimination.

      22 years and counting none of the mavens and mumchans have ever guessed. correctly. The shul made some money . i have a good scotch selection from all the 2nd bottle that no one ever won. and everyone had a good time
      True story. 400 people at the sudah can verify it.


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