Buffalo Trace Releases Kosher-Certified Whiskies

A First For Buffalo Trace
Buffalo Trace Distillery has released a trio of certified kosher whiskies for the company’s first time, utilizing the kosher supervision of the Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc-Kosher). This may also be the first time a Bourbon has advertised its kosher status on its label. Buffalo Trace began working with cRc in 2010 to put this release together, which is available in three styles: Kosher Rye Recipe Bourbon, Kosher Wheat Recipe Bourbon, and Kosher Straight Rye Whiskey. The three whiskies have started shipping from Buffalo Trace following Passover.

The Passover Problem
Since fermented grains such as wheat, barley, and rye, etc. are forbidden to be either owned and/or consumed by Jews on Passover, and these grains are regularly occurring in Bourbon whiskies (while Bourbon is required to be mostly (anywhere between 51% and 100%) corn-based for its grain bill, the remainder can be other grains), for a Jewish-owned company such as Buffalo Trace, their whiskey products seem to be problematic, as they are owned by Jews during Passover. Buffalo Trace is owned by the Sazerac Company, which is a privately-owned family company, led by its chairman, William “Bill” Goldring, an Ashkenazi Jew, so its whiskies are problematic from the perspective of Jewish law.

Check out our podcast episode on how whiskey became the catalyst for the selling of chametz

How Is This Whiskey Different From All Other Buffalo Trace Whiskies?
In 2012, the cRc oversaw the sale of new American oak barrels in a contract of sale to Mark Brown, a non-Jewish executive, who serves as Buffalo Trace’s president, where they were filled with whiskey and put away in 1,000 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. Following Passover this year, Brown sold these bottles back to the distillery.

Quotes from Buffalo Trace and cRc-Kosher
“This is a milestone in the spirits industry to produce a truly Kosher whiskey. We know kosher products are very important to the Jewish community, as well as a broader audience,” said Brown, owner of the kosher barrels at Buffalo Trace. “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.”

Chametz-selling in 2019, with Mark Brown on the far left and Rabbi Sholem Fishbane on the far right (picture courtesy of cRc-Kosher)
Chametz-selling in 2019, with Mark Brown on the far left and Rabbi Sholem Fishbane on the far right (picture courtesy of cRc-Kosher)
“We’re excited that our partnership which we began ten years ago has come to fruition,” said Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, cRc-Kosher’s kashrus administrator. “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.”

This trio of kosher whiskies is limited, but it will be an annual post-Passover release. Bottles are being sold through wholesalers and retailers before Passover begins again in 2021.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.

About Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace Distillery is an American family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery’s rich tradition dates back to 1773 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee. Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational distillery, producing bourbon, rye, and vodka on-site and is a National Historic Landmark, as well as being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won 35 distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate Magazine, and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Its Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain Bourbon was named World Whiskey of the Year by “Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2018” and its William Larue Weller and Thomas H. Handy Sazerac were named 2nd and 3rd finest whiskies in the world, respectively, in the “Jim Murray Whiskey Bible 2020.” Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 1,000 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies.

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