Bourbon and the Sale of Chametz

4 Iyar 5770
April 18, 2010

bourbonErev Shabbat Vayakel-Pikudei (Translated with permission from Rabbi Shmuel Zemelman – who is affiliated with the Jerusalem Religious Council Kashrut Dept and an authority on kashrut and alcoholic beverages.

There was a stormy debate in the mikve surrounding bourbon, with one gentleman insisting that since the drink is derived from corn, one needn’t sell it with one’s chametz prior to Pessach. As such, following the yomtov, the bourbon is permitted since it is only ‘kitniot’ and therefore, there is no problem using it even though it was not sold. This viewpoint is quite popular in American circles.

According to law, bourbon must contain a minimum of 51% corn. The remainder is either wheat or barley. In actuality, the corn content is usually between 60%-80% but it is absolutely clear that bourbon must be sold along with other chametz items [for those who sell mixtures containing chametz).

Selling bourbon is less complicated than selling scotch whiskey, which is entirely chametz.

The original posting may be viewed on the rav site.

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