Kol Koreh Released On Problamatic Whiskey (Mainly Bourbon)


The AKO Executive Committee has reason to believe that there are large liquor companies in the United States which may be owned in whole or part by Jews. They are concerned that such companies may not have arranged for the sale of their chametz (mechiras chametz) during Pesach. These companies primarily manufacture bourbon, cordials, and American whiskey, and also deal in a small amount of Scotch and vodka.

Chametz-containing liquors owned, produced and/or aged by Jewish-owned companies over Pesach are forbidden as chametz she’avar alav haPesach.  

Since many liquor products are aged for many years before they are sold to the public, it cannot be assumed that these beverages are acceptable for kosher use even if they are purchased a long time before or after Pesach.

The following is the text of the Kol Koreh released, and the list of problamatic drinks. To view the actual Kol Koreh, click HERE. For a Q & A regarding this issue, click HERE to read a previous YWN article posted in the “Kashrus Corner“.

ימי הרחמים והרצון תשע”א
אנו בזה להודיע שיש מיני משקאות חריפים יי”ש שמיוצרים מחמשת מיני דגן שיש בהם משום איסור חמץ כמבואר
בפוסקים שהובאו במשנה ברורה סימן תמ”ב.
והנה נתברר ע”י מומחים נאמנים הי”ו שיש כמה חברות שהם בבעלות של יהודי חפשי ולא מכרו החמץ לפסח כדין ,
והיי”ש של חמץ היה ברשותו בימי הפסח עצמם. והמומחים הנ”ל בדקו את הענין עד כמה שידם מגעת ופירסמו רשימ ה
לזכות את ישראל לאפרושי מאיסורא.
לאור הנ”ל ראוי לאסור לשתות משקאות הללו וגם ראוי להחמיר לאוסרם בהנאה כדין חמץ שעבר עליו הפסח ולא
להכנס לפירצה דחוקה. ולענין אלו שיש בידם כמות גדולה מהמשקאות האלו ויש בזה משום הפסד מרובה, יעשו שאל ת
חכם אם יש היתר למכרם לעכו”ם. ויה”ר שלא יצא מכשול מתחת ידינו, אמן.
ע”ז באנו על החותם
CHOF-K הרה”ג ר’ שלמה גיסינגער שליט”א OU הרה”ג ר’ ישראל הלוי בעלסקי שליט”א
HISACHDUS הרה”ג ר’ הילל וויינבערגער שליט”א STAR-K הרה”ג ר’ משה היינעמאנן שליט”א
OK הרה”ג ר’ מנחם מאיר ויסמאנדל שליט”א MK הרה”ג ר’ יהונתן בנימין ווייס שליט”א
COR הרה”ג ר’ שלמה אליהו מילר שליט”א KEHILLA-LA הרה”ג ר’ אברהם שלמה טייכמאן שליט”א
OU הרה”ג ר’ צבי שכטר שליט”א cRc הרה”ג ר’ גדלי’ דוב שווארץ שליט”א
וזאת הרשימה כפי שנתברר עד עתה:

1792 Ridgemont
99 Schnapps
A. Smith Bowman
Ancient Age
Antique Collection
Buffalo Trace
California Deluxe
Canadian Host
Canadian Hunter
Canadian LTD
Canadian Supreme
Colonel Lee
Dr McGillicuddy’s
Eagle Rare
Elmer T Lee
Experimental Collection
George T. Stagg
Hancock’s Presidents Reserve
Highland Mist
House of Stuart
James Foxe
Kentucky Gentleman
Kentucky Tavern
McAfee’s Benchmark
Mr. Boston
Northern Light
Old Charter
Old Rip Van Winkle
Old Thompson
Old Weller
Pappy Van Winkle
Rich & Rare
Rock Hill Farms
Royal Canadian
Sazerac Rye
Ten High
Thomas H. Handy
Tom Moore
Van Winkle
Very Old Barton
Virginia Gentleman
W L Weller
Some of these brands are permitted if they were purchased before specific dates. For information on this and for other details, please contact:
AKO (Association of Kashrus Organizations)  (773) 465-3900  Fax (773) 465-6632
www.akokosher.org  [email protected]

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  1. Good Grief!
    Who ever drinks those third rate brands? The good bourbons are still now on any issur list so enjoy Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, and Old Grandad, etc…

  2. #3 — You ought to check that with your rov, the OU, the OK, or the CRC. Another reliable kashrus information source is http://www.kosherquest.org, administered by Rabbi Eidlitz, shlita, of Southern California. He is the author of the English book “Is It Kosher?”. There are single malt scotch whiskies that are aged in non-kosher sherry casks, which the distillers claim give an enhanced flavor to their scotch. Do everyone a big favor and don’t posken shailos when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  3. to Yaakov Doe #3

    Single Malt Scotch is not free of problems as most people think. You must check to make certain that it is not aged in a wine cask. The better ones are.
    Only Bourbon is shaila free, its cheaper and just as good.
    Try it, save and leChaim!!

  4. To all those bourbon drinkers such as myself, not to worry. Some ideas- Elijah Craig? Good. Bookers? Good. Noah’s Mill? Good. Prichard’s? Good. Woodford Reserve? Good. Basil Hayden’s? Good. I think I’m covered for the holiday. L’chaim. Enjoy.

  5. Lazer- you’ve obviously never indulged in some good Pappy! And Yaakov Doe- Scotch is great- for women! Real men drink Bourbon! L’chaim yidden! Ah freileche Yom Tov!

  6. Please note that many of these are NOT 3rd rate brands.
    Some are very fine bourbons, far preferred by our Kiddush Club, which very much appreciates craft bourbons.

    Regarding Scotch and especially single malt scotch, ALL them are aged in cooperage which includes Bourbon, Sherry, Port and other trefah barrels. Some people have issues with this, some not. For many, the issue depends on the use of trefah cooperage to induce purchase of the product. Bourbon is aged in new barrels only, not reused cooperage. Craft bourbons also have more character and flavor, are much cheaper and keep your $ in the States. Good enough reasons to prefer it over single malt scotches owned by British, French, Japanese and German companies. Of course we enjoy Scotch. We prefer craft Bourbons.

    If you check the names above, you will note that ALL of these products are made/owned or controlled by Sazerac. Draw your own conclusions. This campaign against Sazerac’s products began in May, 2010.


    Robert Jacobs
    Anshe Emes Kiddush Club
    Los Angeles, CA

  7. Actually bourbon is for yeshiva bochurim. Real men drink single malt scotches. And although there has been much rabbinical debate regarding sherry casks, many poskim hold that since the sherry casks are all over 1 year old that they go out of the klal of stam yainom and are mutter. Again though always check with your rov not with YWN blogs. I’ll take any single malt “Glen” over any bourbon anytime. And I’m ready to go one shot against one shot one on one with any bourbon drinker.

  8. to theprof1
    while it may be true R. Moshe gave a heter, but chasidim are machmer. True that sherry casks can be over a year old, but the real problem is the rememnents of the sherry is still in many barrels when the whisky is put in it. The manufacturers like it because it enhances the scotch flavor, even in single blends. Bourbon is only NEW oak casks.
    to Nach:
    True Bookers, Bakers, Woodford, Knob Creek are excellent, still Jim Beam and Jack Daniels (call Yaakov Daniel in high places) is the Chevrolet of whiskeys and should be enjoyed as such.

  9. A l’Chaim on a shtamperel of Czechoslovakian Shlivovits is a Mechaya!!! A git gebenchte yoor.

    As I tell the inmates who I visit: A gitt aqvital!

  10. To the prof1 #12

    “many poskim hold that since the sherry casks are all over 1 year old that they go out of the klal of stam yainom and are mutter”

    Many other Poskim hold that you cannot be “mevatel issur lechatchilo” which would therefore render the above heter useless.
    In addition to the above problem, it is “nossen ta’am lishvach” even when the issur is over 1 year old, and is therefore not pogum. The proof for this is that it DOES enhance the final whisky flavor to the degree that sherry and wine based whisky is in much higher demand and the sherry and wine flavors are the pride of the distilleries.

  11. BS”D

    This whole discussion is proof positive that Yidden do not know how to drink.

    We large white furballs stick with 96% pure alcohol, distilled from wheat, which has no questions as to kashrus, and after a couple of lechaims with that stuff the taste hardly matters.

    In all seriousness there are so many deois regarding whisky that it is best to:

    1) Ask your own rov

    2) Restrict consumption of anything that may be problematic to your own home, so that there is no machloikes at public kiddushim or other events. There are enough fine whiskys and whiskeys that are easily available and considered 100% acceptable by even the most machmir rav (who as far as mashke is concerned is probably Rav Landa shlita whose list nevertheless includes some good stuff) or even supervised by the OU, Manchester Beis Din or LBD.