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New Kosher Symbol Introduced: Vaad Honors Heaven Hill Distilleries

[by Phyllis Shaikun]

The Hyatt Regency Hotel had a supper club feel when the Vaad Hakashruth held its annual meeting on Sunday, July 15. The dinner was one of several kosher dining events the Vaad offers members of the community during the year.

Vaad President Jacob Wishnia served as master of ceremonies for the evening. He introduced Rabbi Chaim Litvin, who serves the Vaad in many capacities, for a special announcement.

“In recent years,” the rabbi said, “interest in kosher food and beverages has grown exponentially, and kosher foods are now a multi-billion dollar segment of the food industry. In 2011, kosher was named the fastest growing segment in the entire food industry. There is clear evidence,” he continued, “that a kosher symbol boosts a product’s market share by 20 percent.”

Liquor industry products can also be kosher when prepared in compliance with the laws of kashruth. However, some individuals have expressed concerns about verifying that products are truly kosher. In that regard, Rabbi Chaim Litvin and the Louisville Vaad have just launched a new symbol, KLAS (Kosher Liquor And Spirits), expressly dedicated to assuring that these products are manufactured to the highest standards of quality and kosher observance. The symbol is expected to be widely used and accepted.

Heaven Hill, the seventh largest supplier of liquor and spirits in the United States, has joined the Vaad as the first partner in the KLAS endeavour. Rabbi Avrohom Litvin related that Heaven Hill’s executive vice president, Harry Shapira, contacted the Vaad last year because his company wanted to make their products kosher and wanted to be sure that chametz was handled properly. In honor of their historic partnership, Shapira received the organization’s 2012 Aaron Chase Award.

Shapira thanked the Vaad leadership for the distinction and related that his father and uncles, the founders of Heaven Hill, would have been proud. “I would be happy to work with the rabbi and the Vaad again in the future,” said Shapira, “to have even more of our products KLAS-certified.”

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