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Manischewitz (/ˌmænəˈʃɛvɪts/; Hebrew: מנישביץ‎) is a leading brand of kosher products based in the United States, best known for its matzo and kosher wine. Founded in 1888, it became a public corporation in 1923 and remained under family control until 1990, when it was bought out by a private equity firm. On April 7, 2014, Sankaty Advisors, an arm of the private equity firm Bain Capital, bought the company from a group that included the investment firm Harbinger.[2] It is the world's largest matzo manufacturer and one of America's largest kosher brands.

The Manischewitz Company
Privately held company
IndustryKosher Foods
FoundedCincinnati, Ohio (1888 (1888))
FounderDov Behr Manischewitz
Headquarters
80 Avenue K, Newark, New Jersey
,
United States[1]
Area served
Nationwide
ProductsMatzo
kosher wine
OwnerKayco Kosher & Beyond - Bayonne, NJ
Websitemanischewitz.com/ Edit this on Wikidata

HistoryEdit

 
Logo for Manischewitz wine

The B. Manischewitz Company, LLC was founded by Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz, in 1888 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Company went public in 1923 and remained a public corporation until it was taken private in a management buyout led by Kohlberg & Company in 1990 for $42.5 million.[3][4][5]

In the 1930s, in order to produce their products all year round, the company created Tam-Tam crackers, which are little hexagonal matzos, according to a recent book Manischewitz: The Matzo Family, written by the founder's great-granddaughter, Laura Manischewitz Alpern (though the modern Tam Tam is quite different from matzo). Their original product, the square matzo, revolutionized matzo-making, which until the family's production process, used to consist of rolling the matzo and trimming the edges by hand. It was also considered quite revolutionary to make matzos by machine.[6] The company built a second production site on Bay Street in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1932, to better serve the large Jewish community of the New York metropolitan area,[7] and the Cincinnati facility was eventually closed in 1958.

In 1990, a $1 million fine was levied against the company for price fixing with its two main competitors at the time, Streit's and Horowitz.[8] In 1998, Richard A. Bernstein purchased the company from Kohlberg.[9] In 2004 its name was changed to the R.A.B. Food Group, LLC and today it is known as The Manischewitz Company.[7]

From 2007 to 2014, Manischewitz was owned by the hedge fund Harbinger Capital.[10] Manischewitz remains the world's top matzo manufacturer and one of America's top kosher brands.[3] On June 14, 2011, a new 200,000-square-foot (19,000 m2) facility opened at 80 Avenue K in the East Ward of Newark, New Jersey, serving as plant and corporate headquarters for The Manischewitz Company.[11] In July 2017 the company closed the facility in favor of another New Jersey location, cutting 169 jobs.[12]

FoodsEdit

 
Potato latke made from Manischewitz brand mix frying in hot olive oil.

Manischewitz has revolutionized the way in which matzo is produced. By mass-producing matzos they turned the output of matzo-making from a strictly local product into a national, and eventually international product. Manischewitz matzos were also the first to feature uniform texture, taste, and feel. When the company first began shipping matzos they also decided to make them square, whereas before matzos had been consistently round.[5][13] Manischewitz's main innovation - making matzos with machines instead of by hand - aroused some initial controversy. Some rabbis of the era claimed that in order to be acceptable for religious use, the matzo had to have been made by a man and not a machine.[3][14] Manischewitz was ultimately able to overcome these concerns, in part by demonstrating the meticulous adherence to the halakha (religious rules).[14]

Manischewitz acquired Horowitz-Margareten Matzo and manufactures Goodman matzo. In addition to matzo, Manischewitz-labeled foods include cookies, pasta, and soups. Other well-known kosher brands associated with R.A.B. include Carmel, Elite, Mother's, Rokeach, Mrs. Adler's, and Tradition; many of these were acquired by R.A.B. after successful runs as independent kosher labels.[15] Kosher foods such as these are staples of many supermarkets in the United States.

R.A.B. is not involved with Manischewitz wine, however, except in name. It has, since 1986, licensed the Manischewitz brand name to the Manischewitz Wine Company, a subsidiary of Canandaigua Wine Company (now Constellation Brands).[16]

List of foodsEdit

  • Matzos
    • Concord Grape Matzo
    • Egg Matzo
    • Egg & Onion Matzo
    • Everything Matzo
    • Saltine Matzo
    • Savory Garlic Matzo
    • Spelt Matzo (Kosher for Passover)
    • Thin Salted Matzo
    • Thin Tea Matzo
    • Thin Unsalted Matzo
    • Unsalted Matzo
    • White Grape Matzo
    • Whole Wheat Matzo
    • Yolk Free Egg Matzo
  • Matzo Crackers
    • Egg Matzo Crackers
    • Everything Matzo Crackers
    • Regular Matzo Crackers
    • Whole Grain Garden Herb Tam Tam Crackers (Kosher for Passover, made of egg matzo, different recipe from regular Tam Tam)
    • Whole Grain Lighted Salted Tam Tam Crackers (Kosher for Passover, made of egg matzo, different recipe from regular Tam Tam)
  • Non-Matzo Crackers
    • Everything Tam Tam Crackers
    • Garlic Tam Tam Crackers
    • No Salt Tam Tam Crackers
    • Original Tam Tam Crackers

Note: The Tam Tam cracker started out as small, flavored matzo, but was developed into a unique recipe not made of matzo dough. The Passover version is still an egg matzo cracker, but year-round Tam Tam production is not.

  • Matzo meal
    • Matzo Farfel Canister (Kosher for Passover)
    • Matzo Meal Canister (Kosher for Passover)
    • Potato starch Canister (Kosher for Passover)
  • Noodles
    • Egg Noodles
    • Whole Grain Noodles
    • Yolk Free Egg Noodles

WineEdit

 
Bottle of Manischewitz

The Manischewitz winery is located in Canandaigua, New York, and since 1987 it has been the property of Constellation Brands, which continues to license the Manischewitz name from R.A.B. Foods.[17] The Winery was founded by Leo Star and run by the Star family since 1927.

The Manischewitz winery is best known for its budget concord wine, which is widely available in much of North America.[18] Made from labrusca grapes, its aroma is unusual, and is combined with a large amount of residual sugar.[citation needed] Because concord was popularized by the U.S. media over the years as being the kosher wine, it is often the wine that is used to celebrate Passover by non-Orthodox Jews. However, Manischewitz's sweet Concord contains corn syrup, a sweetener derived from corn, which is a food that is forbidden during Passover among Ashkenazi Jews (see Kitniyot for details on why corn is forbidden). Manischewitz produces special Kosher for Passover bottling of its wines, which are sweetened with cane sugar as opposed to the corn syrup that is used throughout the year.[19]

The sweetness of Manischewitz wine and other kosher wines is often the fodder of jokes. However, Kosher wine does not have to be sweet. One of the reasons for the prevalence of sweet kosher wine in the U.S., and in the Americas generally, dates back to the early days of Jews in America, when they needed to locally produce kosher wine for the Kiddush ritual that is performed on the Shabbat and holidays. The combination of a limited choice of grape varieties that could grow in the areas where Jews had settled, along with the limited amount of time that was available to produce the wine and a market that was dominated by hard cider, yielded a bitter wine that had to be sweetened in order to make it palatable.[20]

Because the sweet Manischewitz variety of wine is so well known in the U.S., the existence of a thriving kosher wine industry that is anchored by vineyards in France and Israel, along with a growing U.S. industry, is often a surprise to Americans who are unaccustomed to taking kosher wine seriously.[16]

AdvertisingEdit

The company has used the slogan "Man-O-Manischewitz What a Wine!" for advertising. The company and this advertising campaign are fictionally represented in season five of Mad Men as a new account.[21]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Verdon, Joan (June 15, 2011). "Manischewitz calls Newark a key ingredient in its growth plan". NorthJersey.com. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  2. ^ "Sankaty Advisors, an arm of private equity firm Bain Capital, bought the company from a group that included the investment firm Harbinger". nytimes.com. April 8, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Lukas, Paul (April 1, 2004). "Days of Wine and Matzos: How a Cincinnati family became the name in kosher foods". CNN Money. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
  4. ^ Martin, Douglas (September 23, 2003). "Bernard Manischewitz, Last in Family Firm, Dies at 89". The New York Times. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Alpern, Lara Manishewitz (2008). Manischewitz: The Matzo Family. ktav. ISBN 978-1-60280-003-8.
  6. ^ "Cincinnati Enquirer - cincinnati.com". Cincinnati.com. April 8, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Manishewitz - History". Archived from the original on June 30, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  8. ^ Tregarthen, Timothy (1999). The Matzo Fix. Worth Publishers. ISBN 978-1-57259-418-0.
  9. ^ "History of The B. Manischewitz Company, LLC – FundingUniverse". www.FundingUniverse.com. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  10. ^ "For Falcone, No Joy in the Sale of Manischewitz - NYTimes.com". Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  11. ^ "Manischewitz Company Relocates Headquarters to Newark - a set on Flickr". Flickr.com. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  12. ^ https://www.nj.com/essex/2017/07/manischewitz_reportedly_shutting_down_newark_plant.html
  13. ^ Ginsburg, Johanna (March 27, 2008). "A Manischewitz writes family history of kosher food giant". New Jersey Jewish News. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
  14. ^ a b Kahn, Bruce. "The Americanization of Matzah". Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  15. ^ "R.A.B. Food Group LLC". Retrieved September 6, 2008.
  16. ^ a b Howard G. Goldberg (March 23, 1994). "Manischewitz Only Sweet? Not Anymore". New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2007.
  17. ^ "Manischewitz wine - heritage - history". Archived from the original on August 1, 2008. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
  18. ^ "Manaschewitz wine - mahalo.com". Retrieved September 7, 2008.
  19. ^ "Manischewitz wine - FAQ". Archived from the original on June 6, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
  20. ^ "The 11th Plague? Why People Drink Sweet Wine on Passover". Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  21. ^ "Man-O-Manischewitz!". Cardcow.com. Retrieved December 25, 2011.

External linksEdit