Local distillery produces Canada’s first kosher for Passover rum

Planning the perfect menu for a dinner party is complicated, but planning the perfect menu for a Passover seder can be nearly impossible. One only needs to look at the Ottawa Kosher Foodies Facebook page to see last-minute pleas for ingredients or a quick pick-up of food items from kosher Loblaws. So it is of no surprise that exceptional hosts, forgo optionality when it comes to the beverage department. Kosher for Passover Coke is hard enough to find, let alone kosher for Passover rum for your Cuba Libre or Mojito. So, when Rob and Laura Bradley from Kings Lock Distillery decided to work with the Jewish Federation of Ottawa's kosher certification agency, the Ottawa Vaad Hakashrut, (OVH), to create a kosher for Passover rum, OVH Director Rabbi Levy Teitlebaum was delighted.  

Kings Locks started 58 years ago as a family cattle farm before the second and third generations decided to add a distillery in 2016. From Day 1, they committed to being an organic and sustainable business, and when they noticed that many of the organic products they needed had kosher symbols, they quickly inquired with the OVH about getting certified. However, because most of the products are made from the grain they grow on their farm, Kosher for Passover seemed unlikely.  

But the owners really appreciated working with Rabbi Teitlebaum, who took the time to help educate them about kashrut. They saw his passion for working in partnership with small producers and the steps he took to make things viable for small businesses, and so when he suggested that they could use the sugar they already had on hand to make Passover-friendly rum, they decided to give it a go.    

In order to create rum in Ontario it must be aged for 12 months, and so last year they created a Kosher for Passover Moonshine, which was aged in woodchips and while the product sold out, they set aside half the batch so that it could age naturally to give it a further depth of flavour. And so just in time for Pesach, they are proud to release the kosher for Passover Exodus Rum, which is the only Kosher for Passover Rum made in Canada! 

Kings Lock is very much a passion project for the Bradleys who both have full-time jobs outside the distillery. And although running an organic, sustainable and kosher business is significantly more arduous than other options, they find it more fulfilling to be a truly community-focused endeavour. They are so proud to be able to provide options to the Jewish community and can’t wait to hear how the Exodus Rum enlivened the seders.  

Exodus Rum and all Kings Lock Products are available through their website, in person at the distillery as well as on Sundays at the Lansdowne Farmers Market.