Johnnie Walker

Rabbinate 'black labels' whiskey

Two identical bottles of 'Black Label' sit side by side. One is kosher, the other is not; in Israel, the Rabbinate has the final say.

The Chief Rabbinate has notified one of only two major whiskey importers, the "Paneco Group," that it is immediately revoking its kosher certification for all Johnnie Walker – Black Label whiskey imported by the company.



The Chief Rabbinate claimed that the bottles of whiskey imported by the "Paneco Group" are mislabeled, incorrectly insinuating that the product was certified kosher by the "OK" kosher conglomerate and Chief Rabbinate of Israel, which is misleading.


The Rabbinate explained that the move was prompted by a letter from "OK" offices in Israel, which stated that no kosher certification was ever given to Paneco Black Label.


OK's lawyer in Israel wrote in the letter that, "My client had contacted you a number of weeks ago, and until now, you have yet to release a kosher status update warning the public against consuming the product, which is being marketed under false pretenses."


OK has stated that another importer "IBBLS" holds a kosher certification for Johnnie Walker Black Label whiskey.


The label in question
The label in question


The Rabbinate warning, which spurred an uproar within the kosher keeping community, and among fans of the popular whiskey brand, has not stopped synagogues from purchasing the product.


One of the certifying rabbis on the website "kosher1," explained that, "We must understand that everyone is right in this case. IBBLS is right because they paid for the kosher inspectors to fly out to Scotland and examine the whiskey, and as such the company did not want others using their kosher certification.


"The OK kosher conglomerate is also in the right in demanding that Paneco not use their name or kosher certification without permission. The rabbinate is also right in withdrawing the kosher certification after OK clarified their position, but so are the people who continue to buy the whiskey because it is truly kosher," he concluded.


According to the rabbi from kosher1, "Private consumers can buy and drink 'Black Label' without hesitating. But the same does not hold for restaurants or event halls which hold a kosher certification from the rabbinate, as they must work according to the Rabbinate's standards, which include serving only Rabbinate certified beverages. Even if it doesn't seem fair- these are the rules."


Paneco said in response that, "All products sold on are completely and solely original. The Johnnie Walker whiskey products sold on the site are created by the primary manufacturer at the Diageo distillery in Scotland, and is the exact same product being marketed by a competing company in Israel, which holds the kosher certification for the product."


Paneco further added that they would not "Surrender to the threats and blackmail attempts by industry competitors."


When asked whether the company would continue using the kosher label, or remove the labels from the bottles, the company replied, "We operate according to the law and will continue to do so."


פרסום ראשון: 08.18.15, 13:50
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