04 May 2006

More on the Kashrus Status of Malt Beverages

Moshe Barouk of the Aleph Institute sent me the following e-mail concerning the kashrus of flavored alcoholic beverages of which I have previously posted:

Hi. I read your article regarding the Kosher status of Smirnoff Ice and other malt beverages. I too, was very interested in finding out the Kosher status of Smirnoff Ice and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. While I was not able to find out anything specific on Smirnoff Ice, I DID find out about Mike’s Hard Lemonade. I found out at the time of my investigation (late 2004) that concurrent with your findings the ingredients in Mike’s Hard Lemonade are in fact Kosher. HOWEVER, after pressing further and speaking WITH the Mike’s Hard Lemonade executives, I ALSO found out that they produce other drinks which DO contain grape juice in the same plant and utensils as the Hard Lemonade. They are not washed and also go through a heating process in the cooking. In fact, the reps at Mike’s were very aware of this Kashrus problem. This fact makes Mike’s Hard Lemonade undeniably not Kosher.

Also, with regard to Smirnoff Ice, you’re probably now aware (as I see your article was written in September ’05) that several of the Smirnoff Malt Beverage flavors are now certified under the KSA (good California Hashgocha). These flavors include Green Apple, Raspberry and Orange. I am sure that if Smirnoff “Ice” was Kosher, it would also be certified under them. Incidentally, the watermelon, grape and black cherry flavors of these Smirnoff malt beverages DO NOT have the certification the other
above mentioned flavors do.

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Sister said...

Good - now you've found some of the Smirnoff flavored drinks you *can* drink.

Anonymous said...

The fact that they produce grape juice at the plant and the other points you mention do not make the other drinks treif.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between lechatchilah and be-daavad in these matters. After the drink is produced it is bediaavad. There is a machloket among the poskim bout how much you can rely on bediaavad, bu tmany great poskim say that there is absolutely no problem.

emm said...

1. just because some products are hekshered and some arent doesnt mean the non hekshered products are automatically problematic. I am sure smirnoff pays per item supervised, so why would they need to pay for plain alcohol which doesnt need a heksher? I say kudos to the KSA for not pressuing smirnoff to get an unnecessary heksher. on that note, shame on all the rabbis who heksher bottled water, paper plates, baby carrots, etc.
2. staam yeinam (grape products that you dont know for sure have been used in ritual libations) are batel b'sheish- null in 1/6. Up to 1/6 of your produce could actually be non hekshered grape-juice or wine and its fine.
3. furthermore, according to some major poskim like the achiezer, totza'ei staam yeinam (derivatives of the wine described above) are fine. that means balsamic vinegar doesnt need a heksher. I wonder if any wine flavor derived from the previous processing of grape products over at Mike's Hard Lemonade might be in the same category of a derivative? either way, there is no chance that a bottle of mike's contains 1/6 grapes.

Anonymous said...

You very well may be right that the drink are kosher b'diavad, but

a) no hasgacha in the US (due to the way kashrut in the US is setup, for good/bad) could give a hasgacha to something that is only kosher b'diavad.

Why? because since they charge for supervision, and the companies expect there to be a business bump due to kosher supervision, anything they now do is with the intention of the jewish consumer eating/drinking it and therefore b'diavad ("after the fact") doesn't generally apply.

If on the other hand we had non charging angencies that basically checked out plants and created "kosher lists", one could make a cognizent argument that "b'diavad" cases are 100% ok.

but this gets to B.

b) since we have no organizatoins that could do kashrut w/o charging and hence not removing the b'diavad cases, we really should avoid things that could very well be kosher b'diavad.

Now, if you want to create an agency that makes such a "kosher list", more power to you, but I have severse doubts it would take off due to the way we are used to kashrut today.

Anonymous said...

B'diavad kosher is for b'diavad Jews.

Anonymous said...

any jew who is born jewish, can be considered a b'diavad jew :)

b'diavad doesn't mean "kula". it means "after the fact". i.e. if already done, what's the status. Now, there are times when a situation has already occured, we'll rely on kulas as this is a "b'diavad situation", but that's now how the term is being used here.

Anonymous said...

Listen ...You guys sound like a bunch of white hats..... and its not batel be shesh its be shishim (not 1/6 its 1/60) and that still is not so great.... the fact is you cant drink it. go ahead and take a chance with your nishamah... you might as well eat at McDonalads.....this case is not done B'diavad it was done deliberitly. so u cant drink it. and don't go and posek all you kullas on the internet....100% tareif