[An urgent text message about Kosher tequilas from an agave beverage manager at a thriving new bar in New York City, and the resulting questions raised from research into this misunderstood market from all points–tequila and mezcal brand owners, consumers, and rabbinical representatives of the Jewish faith–prompted me to finally discuss the positive, often flawed, and vastly under served kosher tequila and mezcal segments of the market.]
But first, if you’re a…
Tequila or Mezcal Brand Owner
…take a quick peek at Part 1, in case you’re still in the dark about what being kosher means.
Next, before you decide whether being certified kosher is the right move for your brand, here are a few things to consider.
Does the rabbinic field representative of the kosher certifying agency actually understand the tequila or mezcal making process? Is this person willing to do his due diligence? And, is he willing to be on-site and to participate at each stage of the certification process?
David Suro, importer and brand owner of the famed Siembra Spirits brands of tequila and mezcal, recalled only positive experiences with the rabbi who oversaw the kosher certification of the first batches of his tequila, Siembra Azul.
“The rabbi was thorough and always there,” recalls Suro. “I was very comfortable with someone who cared that much.”
(Tequila Treasure Bottle Hunters take note: Only the first three batches of Siembra Azul were ever designated kosher.)
Is It A Hassle?
Depending on the agency you use, your particular distillery, and if your processes and recipes are consistent, you may be subjected to only one on-site audit and subsequent annual fees to continue using the kosher seal.
Other agencies could require unannounced visits by rabbinical field representatives to determine if your brand should continue to carry its hechsher.
What About Going Organic?
Richard Sorenson, founder of Dulce Vida Tequila that is both organic and kosher, admits that the company tends to focus more on being certified organic, but doesn’t feel the two certifications “…are mutually exclusive, but go hand-in-hand.”
This helpful article on the EarthKosher website could help you weigh the differences and similarities of the two certifications.
What’s All This Gonna Cost?
Here’s where it gets sticky.
Depending on the brand’s (or distillery’s) needs, an approximate cost could range from $25,000 pesos ($1437.98) per year, to tens of thousands of dollars– per batch!
The price varies from business to business, and from industry to industry. Your best bet is to get an on-site estimate from a respected agency and then determine…
What’s My ROI on Kosher Tequila?
Depending on which estimates you believe, you could be missing out on your cut of a multi-billion dollar market.
With the spirits industry anxious to tap into Millennials, you might heed the words of Mordy Dicker, Executive Vice President of Business Development for KEDEM/Kayco, who was quoted in this 2015 Kosherfest press release, “‘People think positively about kosher food. It’s become trendy.’ Dicker said millennials, vegetarians and people who are glucose intolerant can now find what they need in the kosher space.”
Perhaps they should be looking for your tequila or mezcal, as well?
If you’re a tequila or mezcal aficionado and want to “keep kosher,” or simply a consumer looking for new kosher sipping experiences to share with your friends and family, we’ll show you how in Part 3.