It took an Atlanta rabbi joining forces with executives at the world's top beverage company. But thanks to the tenacity of Rabbi Tobias Geffen — and that of his thirsty congregation — observant Jews can sip Kosher
If the slogan, "Things go better with Coke," holds water, matzah bread and
At the time, millions of migrants to the United States were immersing themselves in every American moment, their children demonstrating their assimilation through bottles of
So devoted was that generation to the consumption of
According to Rabbi Geffen's Teshuva Concerning
“Our Jewish customers wanted to drink
For some observant Jews, sweetener derived from grain is a primary stumbling block. Passover practice requires its observers to keep Kosher by avoiding chametz, or leavened product derived from five types of grain, and other forbidden foods.
Planning for food preparation is also a tricky endeavor. Foods consumed during the holiday can leave no doubt of purity, which is why Passover preparations require rigorous cleaning of kitchens and utensils.
The end result is kosher-certified syrups and concentrates, approved as kosher by the Orthodox of Union of Jewish Congregations. The “O.U.” stamped on yellow caps of
Ryan says such a response to the Jewish community is nothing out of the ordinary; The
“We respond to demand, which is why we have Coke Zero and Diet Coke,” he says. “We make products that people want to drink and, if a large percentage of our Jewish consumers want us to produce a Kosher Coke, it behooves us to offer one.”
That's even if sales aren't entirely up to snuff, he says, pointing to a proposal by
“But there was a very strongly worded letter from one of our executives in Canada who said, 'We have consumers who want to consume this product, so we have to do everything in our power to make sure we have product available to consume,'” Ryan explains.
Indeed, in a 1939 letter to Atlanta, Toronto's Eugene Kelly said that, with international tensions reaching a boiling point as World War II began, it was imperative to make Kosher Coke available for the forthcoming Passover season.
“The regional managers are unanimous in the opinion that it would be inadvisable to discontinue Koshered
Atlanta headquarters took notice and, even if its availability isn't widespread, sales of Kosher
A statement from The
“Whether it's with an authentic traditional meal, or at a family event, we know that things go better with Coke. That's why we continue to offer a wide variety of brand choices, in the right brands and packages, in the right places for all beverage occasions.”
Ryan agrees. “With the core philosophy of making sure that your consumers are satisfied, with that as your business driver, Kosher Coke makes a whole lot of sense,” he says. “To have unfulfilled demand is against the company ethos.”