Whiskey Kashrus Alert


whiskey 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. The AKO is concerned that suc companies may not have arranged for the sale of their chometz before Pesach. These companies primarily manufacture bourbon, cordials, and American whiskey, and also deal in a small amount of Scotch and vodka.

Chometz-containing liquors owned, produced and/or aged by Jewish-owned companies over Pesach are forbidden as chometz 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.

Accordingly, the AKO recommends that kashrus agencies and consumers change their policies and only consume those alcoholic beverages which [are free of standard kosher concerns and] are known to (a) be produced by a non-Jewish company or a Jewish-owned company which arranged for the sale of their chometz, (b) not contain any chometz, including not having chometz secondary grains or malted barley (bourbon and cordials are examples of items that may have these forbidden items), and/or (c) were not aged over Pesach (e.g. vodka).

The following are some brands which the AKO believes to be subject to the above concern:

1792 Ridgemont

51 Ice

99 Schnapps

A. Smith Bowman


Ancient Age

Antique Collection




Buffalo Trace

Canadian Host

Canadian Hunter

Canadian LTD

Canadian Supreme

Colonel Lee

Dr McGillicuddy’s

Eagle Rare

Elmer T Lee

Experimental Collection



Hancock’s Presidents Reserve


Highland Mist

House of Stuart


Inver House

James Foxe

Kentucky Gentleman

Kentucky Tavern


McAfee’s Benchmark

Mix 51

Mr. Boston

Northern Light

Old Charter

Old Thompson

Old Van Winkle

Pappy Van Winkle



Rich & Rare

Rock Hill Farms

Royal Canadian

Sazerac Rye

Ten High

Terra Brazilis

Tom Moore


Van Winkle

Very Old Barton

Virginia Gentleman

W L Weller

Consumers who already own one of these liquors are encouraged to ask their personal rov whether returning the bottles to the store is considered having hana’ah (benefit) from chometz she’avar alav haPesach.

Lastly, the AKO notes that this notification does not cover the serious question of the status of whiskey (or other chometz) owned on Pesach by a Jewish distributor who does or does not arrange for the sale of his chometz. Consumers are once again encouraged to discuss this question with their rov.

 For updated information or questions regarding this notification, email AKO at liquor@akokosher.org.

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. And who,pray tell, is the AKO? Are they a rabbinical organization? A kashrus organization?

    Or perhaps an organization formed by whiskey distillers who are conveniently not on the list above?

    Since this is the Age of the Scam, perhaps you could tell us a little more about this “group.”


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