Buffalo Trace Kosher Whiskey Release

Buffalo Trace Distillery Announces Kosher Whiskey Release

In Bourbon News, Rye Whiskey News by Patrick "Pops" Garrett5 Comments

Buffalo Trace Distillery Announces Kosher Whiskey Release

Passover Ends with News of Three New Kosher Whiskeys

FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (April 15, 2020) – Buffalo Trace Distillery is releasing what it believes to be the first authentic Kosher Whiskey, under the guidance of the Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc-Kosher). Buffalo Trace began working with cRc in 2010.  The new whiskey is available in three styles, Kosher Rye Recipe Bourbon; Kosher Wheat Recipe Bourbon; and Kosher Straight Rye Whiskey. The three whiskies will starting shipping from Buffalo Trace after Passover ends on April 16, 2020.

Kosher law mandates that whiskey should not be owned or consumed by Jews during Passover. In 2012 the cRc oversaw the sale of new American Oak Kosher barrels in a contract of sale to a non-Jewish executive, Buffalo Trace Distillery President Mark Brown, where they were filled with whiskey and put away in specially marked “Kosher whiskey” barrels to age.

Once the whiskey reached its desired age earlier this year, the bottling lines at the Distillery were flushed completely beforehand to ensure the whiskey was not exposed to any non-Kosher spirits. This allocated whiskey will be released after Passover ends this year on April 16. Bottles will sell through wholesalers and retailers before Passover begins again in 2021.

“This is a milestone in the spirits industry to produce a truly Kosher whiskey,” said Mark Brown, owner of the Kosher barrels at Buffalo Trace.  “We know Kosher products are very important to the Jewish community as well as a broader audience, we are fully committed to ensuring that the entire chain of custody remains Kosher so the purchaser has 100% confidence this is a Kosher whiskey.”

“We’re excited that our partnership which we began ten years ago has come to fruition,” stated Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, kashrus administrator Chicago Rabbinical Council, “Our members have shown great interest in the prospect of being able to enjoy a Kosher whiskey. We are very happy Buffalo Trace has taken the steps to make sure this happens.”

The new Kosher whiskey line is limited, but it will be an annual release each year after Passover. The labels depict both Buffalo Trace Distillery logo and the cRc-Kosher logo.  Each expression of Buffalo Trace Kosher Whiskey has a suggested retail price of $39.99 per 750ml bottle.


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Comments

  1. Avatar

    Well, I’m confused. What makes this whiskey kosher? What exactly are kosher American oak barrels? What makes ‘regular’ Buffalo Trace whiskey non-kosher? If it’s just that whiskey cannot be consumed or owned by Jews during Passover, what does flushing the lines before bottling have to do with this? Sorry for the ignorance.

    1. Avatar

      Hey Marc,

      That’s actually a great question. The laws of Kashrut (Kosher) are quite complex.
      Straight Bourbon itself is Kosher, as it cannot contain any flavors or ingredients that aren’t inherently Kosher.
      There are however two issues:
      1. As mentioned in this article, we can’t eat/drink whiskey if it was owned by a Jew over Passover.
      2. The other issue is that many distilleries process other beverages that may contain non-kosher ingredients, hence the flushing of the lines to get rid of that possibility. (Most observant Jews will drink straight bourbon without any flushing of the lines, this is an added stringency once they’re doing a special run anyway)

      Interesting side note. Heaven Hill is also owned by Jews but they have been avoiding the issue with other technical means, that I believe Sazerac was not comfortable with.

      1. Avatar

        There’s a couple points there I can clear up.

        1. In general, most standard bourbon are kosher.

        2. Buffalo Trace and all Sazerac Company
        products are not kosher because they’re I
        in the possession of a Jew over
        Passover(see my other comment where I
        go into more detail about this.

        3. It’s not the barrels themselves which are
        kosher or not. All bourbon is aged in new
        barrels which pose no problems for
        kosher status. I believe the article is
        referring barrels full of bourbon that are
        set aside before aging and sealed for the
        special kosher run.

        4. The reason they’re flushing the lines is to
        remove any traces of the regular
        production whiskey which is not kosher
        and could contaminate the special kosher
        run.

  2. Avatar

    Buffalo trace and all whiskeys produced by the Sazerac Company in all their 9 distilleries are not normally kosher, ironically, because the company is Jewish owned.

    Put most simply, Jewish law forbids having in one’s ownership over Passover any products containing grain(Chametz) .
    The solution most religious Jews use for this is to symbolically sell all such items to a non-jew for a nominal sum with the condition to buy them back after the holiday(which they do). Without this process any grain products owned by a Jew over Passover become unkosher.
    William Goldring, the owner of the Sazerac Company is a non religious Jew and does not sell his Chametz.
    As whiskey is aged for several years it is definitely in the distillery’s possession for at least one Passover.
    This makes all Sazerac products containing grain unkosher.

    That is why they’re doing a special kosher run that is technically owned by a non-jew throughout the aging process.

    Interestingly, corn is not an issue, the 5 grains that are Chametz are wheat, barley, rye, oats, and spelt. This doesn’t solve the problem, because although bourbon is mostly corn it normally contains some of the other grains as well.

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