Whisky goes kosher in California

Jewish Whisky Company partners with synagogues in bid to reach refined customers. Yet not all practicing Jews will accept beverage as kosher

VIDEO – Whisky can be cheap. You can get a bottle for about $10 at a liquor store. But companies producing some of the rarest, finest, and most delectable whisky have to target a more refined customer.


Often times, that customer is more likely found in a synagogue than in a liquor store. And the whisky has got to be kosher.


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The room is packed at the kosher whisky tasting at Temple Menorah in Redondo Beach, California, where the Jewish Whisky Company hopes to sell memberships to Single Cask Nation. It's sort of like a whisky of the month club.


Aaron Krouse, who helped organize this event, says kosher products also attract many non-Jews.


"Kosher has always had that label of being better, healthier, better handled, and I think that's a positive thing for people to feel about whatever they're buying that's kosher, whatever food product it is."


As the popularity of whisky grows, it's becoming rarer for prominent whisky companies to allow independent bottlers to distribute their spirits. The Jewish Whisky Company is an exception, because they can put products into the hands of customers that are more likely to buy again and again.


Jewish Whisky Company Vice President Jason Johnstone-Yellin says that "one of the things we've been able to partner with a number of synagogues on is we can come in, we can run a tasting, host a tasting, lead a tasting, provide the whisky for that tasting, and any tickets sold for that tasting serve as a fundraiser for the shul."


There is a caveat. Not all practicing Jews will accept the whisky as being kosher, because it is not kosher certified.


"As a company we stand by the claim that all whisky is inherently kosher," says Jewish Whisky Company President Joshua Hatton. "Granted, whisky has human intervention to make it, but all of the components – barley, yeast, water – that's three kosher by nature components."


Along with every bottle is a detailed description of how it tastes, how it was made, and how it was aged, which puts many people's concerns to rest.


Andy Kissner of Los Angeles admits he's not a regular whisky drinker. Nor is he Jewish. But after tasting these whiskies, he's planning to spend between $180-960 on a membership.


"It's something that I'm looking into as maybe like a birthday gift or a Father's Day gift or something for me. But I think it would be worthwhile," he says. "A couple of these are really tasty and maybe worthwhile on membership, so yes."


The founders of the Jewish Whisky Company say that in the future, they hope to bottle other types of alcohol, ones made without grain – like brandy or vodka – that can be sold during Passover.



פרסום ראשון: 10.26.13, 07:57
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