Bayonne NJ…Two of the leading US kosher food companies announced today that they “have reached an understanding for a transaction whereby Kenover Marketing Corp. (d/b/a Kayco) will acquire all of the kosher food business of Manischewitz.” The transaction will exclude the Season brand of products that Manischewitz had acquired many years ago. Both companies acknowledged that they are operating business as usual and will honor outstanding commitments. According to a statement released on Monday, the companies look forward to concluding this transaction in the near future at which time they will issue a public announcement with further details.
The History of Two Family Businesses that Changed America
The announcement today of the acquisition of the B. Manischewitz Company, LLC by Kayco is a fitting continuation of a remarkable American Jewish success story of two legendary families. Manischewitz was founded by Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz in 1888 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rabbi Manischewitz had emigrated to the US from Prussia. The original producers of machine Matzoh, Manischewitz became a household name for millions of Jewish immigrants and subsequent generations. Manischewitz went through a series of management changes that no longer included the family.
During the period that Rabbi Manischewitz left Prussia, the Herzog family’s winery became renowned as the Royal wine supplier to the emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Emperor Franz Joseph, eventually earning Phillip Herzog (1843-1918) the royal title of Baron. The winery was seized by the Nazis at the onset of World War II and placed under the control of a Christian man designated to manage production. The Herzogs survived the war in hiding and were supported with smuggled profits from the winery. In 1948, after the Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia, Eugene Herzog, the head of the Herzog family, moved the family to the United States.
The Herzog story in the US including its successful Kedem brand went on to become the leading wine producer and distributor in the US. Eventually Kedem branched out to foods leading up to the creation of Kayco, one of the world’s largest distributor of Kosher foods. (More on the implications of the historic acquisition in our next issue.)