Rudolf Jelínek‘s 400-Year Tradition of Making Slivovitz Bears Fruit in the U .S.

October 5, 2010

Rudolf Jelínek is a joint stock company engaged in the production of alcoholic beverages and currently ranks among the major producers of fruit brandy in the world. The company was founded in 1894 and follows a 400–year-old tradition of slivovitz-making in Walachia, Czech Republic.

The first written record of the existence of a distillery was found in the land and duties register of the Vizovice estate from 1585. The Wallachian climate is ideal for fruit trees and especially for plums. Traditionally, plums were made into jam or were dried. The production of the famed slivovitz began around the middle of the 18th century. Among the firms that were founded in Vizovice during that century, the company of Zikmund Jelínek, the father of Rudolf Jelínek, gradually became well-known.

The Razov agricultural production facility founded in 1894 made increased production possible. In 1934, after achieving kosher certification, Jelínek started exporting its kosher slivovitz around the world, giving the product widespread recognition. Exports increased, particularly before World War II. In addition to kosher spirits the company also produced cognac and apple brandy among other products.

On the threshold of the 21st century, Rudolf Jelínek a.s. is the biggest producer of distilled fruit beverages in Central Europe. Today, the heritage of the Jelínek family and the centuries of distilling tradition in Wallachia continue to attract satisfied consumers.

Currently the exports of Rudolf Jelínek a.s. constitute 27 percent of the firm’s sales, a percentage that continues to grow. Following the split of Czechoslovakia into two countries, a significant quantity of exports goes to neighboring Slovakia, while the United States remains an important customer. Other countries importing Rudolf Jelínek’s products are Austria, Hungary and Germany as well as Canada, Australia and South Africa. The company anticipates expansion of its export trade in future years, especially to Poland and Russia.
Rudolf Jelínek has complied with the strict criteria for kosher production since 1934. The firm has exported kosher slivovitz and juniper brandy to the United States where it met with a warm response from the Jewish community, especially in New York. Within a short time, Rudolf Jelínek rose to second place in the export of pure spirits to the U.S.

With the exception of the Second World War, kosher production has continued without interruption, with its kosher products comprising some of the most prestigious items made by the company. Besides Silver Slivovitz for Passover and Kosher Gold Slivovitz 10 Year, the company also sells Bohemia Plum Vodka and Pear Williams Brandy among other products. Customers include the United States (distibuted through the renowned importers Royal Wine Corp. and Kedem), Austria, France, Belgium, Canada and Australia. Recognizing the need for an internationally recognized and respected kosher certification, Jelinek attained OU certification in 1999.
Jelínek premium products are already available in more than 25 states (including New York, New Jersey, Pensylvania, California and Nevada) with the number constantly growing.

The following Rudolf Jelínek products are available domestically: Kosher Gold Plum Brandy 750 ml, aged 10 years; Kosher Slivovitz 750 ml, aged 5 years; Silver Slivovitz, Kosher for Passover 750 ml; Kosher Pear Williams 750 ml; Bohemia Plum Vodka 750 ml. Visit our websites at http://www.rjelinek.cz and http://www.rjelinek.us.