Seth Klaskin. Career background in law. Based in Guilford. Jewish. Has a passion for bottling fine and rare scotch. Go figure.
“It was a dark and stormy night,” says Seth Klaskin, member, secretary, and general council of the Jewish Whisky Company, LLC, and the director of Business Services Division at the Office of the Secretary of the State. “My friend Josh Hatton [president of
the company] and I were serving on a committee at Temple Beth Tikvah in Madison. The lights went out. We started talking, and one of the subjects that came up was that we both enjoyed a good
dram of whiskey.”
This conversation paved way for a popular social circuit, going from house to house with monthly themed whiskey tastings. Hatton studied up on whiskey during this time and became a self-proclaimed, world-renowned blogger and viewer. Hatton’s newfound friendship with Jason JohnstoneYellin, also a Scottish whiskey blogger and viewer, helped form the Whisky Roundtable consisting of 12 influential bloggers. From there, a whiskey membership society was founded.
“Josh came back to me and brought me in because of my knowledge of law and experience in the business community.
Liquor is a high-compliance field, and having a lawyer on board helps. [My current job requires a law degree],” says Klaskin. In May 2011, the Jewish Whisky Company CT, LLC, came to be as a parent company. Single Cask Nation, a private whiskey society, fell under that umbrella in February 2012. Its goal is to foster a diverse membership consisting of various levels, and to put single cask whiskeys in the hands of whiskey lovers at a reasonable price.
By nature, Orthodox and culturally identifying Jews love whiskey, especially after services.
And by nature, whiskey is also kosher. “The three of us tapped into that [insight],” says Klaskin, “and positioned ourselves as the market solution for the Scottish industry. Scots had always been trying to break into the Jewish whiskey market.”
In 2012, the New York City based Whisky Fest was on a weekend, but the Jewish community couldn’t participate due to the Sabbath. In just a few short weeks after Single Cask Nation was launched, the trio formed a whiskey festival of their own, Jewbilee. The next event will take place on Tuesday, June 17, at Studio 450 on West 31st Street and is completely open to the entire world of whiskey drinkers.
Klaskin reflects, “[The Jewbilee allowed us] to introduce Jews and whiskey aficionados. We have a good mix of observant and cultural Jews and whiskey-philes who come to our events and join our club. We learn a lot about [the different types of] whiskeys through them. And after just two Jewbilee events, we were recognized by The Spirits Business magazine as one of the top ten whiskey shows in the world! We’re thrilled.”
Image Credits: Photo courtesy of the Jewish Whisky Company