In Switzerland it is inconceivable to celebrate a joyous occasion without a glass of kirsch – cherry brandy. For tourists, it is compulsory to take home postcards of the Alps, a package of Swiss cheese and … a bottle of kirsch [German for “cherry”].
For many years it was a given that kirsch is kosher with no restrictions and without any supervision. Then research turned up numerous kosher concerns, most notably fermentation yeasts deriving from wine or other non-kosher sources originating from the distillation kettles and bottling equipment which could be shared with non-kosher alcohols.
Dettling, which has always been one of the leaders of quality kirsch producers, was quick to recognize the growing demand for kosher supervised kirsch and was the first and currently the only Swiss company to seek certification and to proudly display the OU symbol.
Visiting and inspecting the Dettling plant in Brunnen is always a pleasure. Employees greet OU RFR’s heartily and show them the fermentation of the present year’s cherry crop or the distillation of a special black cherry liquor to a very high class kirsch.
During the short cherry season, things are quite hectic, since the cherries have to be fully ripe — but not over ripe. They work almost around the clock at the plant, tripling the staff; most of the year things are very calm with only a handful of employees monitoring the fermentation process with precision and know-how.
Here are a few words of consolation to those who prefer oak cask matured drinks and have been turned off by scotch whiskeys. Dettling has invested a great deal of effort in acquiring kosher oak casks for the creation of a new, light brown matured kirsch, which the patriotic Swiss claim can compete with the best Scotch. And of course, it will be OU Kosher.