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In researching beer as it relates to the Jewish dietary laws, I came across this page, which states that most unflavoured beers are OK. Even imported beers are given a wary thumbs up, however the page repeats a curious warning that

Beer from New Zealand must be presumed Dairy unless stated otherwise.

What's special about New Zealand beer that we would assume that it contained dairy or dairy by-products by default, but imports from other countries do not?

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    Note that that page says all Kiwi alcoholic beverages, not just beer, must be presumed dairy unless stated otherwise. – msh210 Mar 10 '14 at 5:21
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    Some kosher supervisors do not distinguish between "dairy" and "dairy equipment"; something made on equipment used for dairy is treated as dairy even if it contains no dairy ingredients. It's worth noting that on the KA site they do appear to distinguish (see "Pareve/Dairy Vessels" in the category list), so it seems like it's not that. On the other hand, the statements about presuming dairy are pretty broad. Curious. – Monica Cellio Mar 10 '14 at 22:35
  • Curious enough for me to seek help, actually. – Monica Cellio Mar 10 '14 at 22:47
  • @MonicaCellio Aha! That was going to be my next port of call. I couldn't figure out if this was a beer question or a Judaism question. – Anthony Mar 10 '14 at 23:10
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    And someone there helpfully pointed out the "contact us" link, so I've sent email to KAA to ask. – Monica Cellio Mar 10 '14 at 23:11
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I asked a rabbi at the KAA and he said that the ruling was because in NZ ethanol is produced from whey and there was concern about that ethanol being used to fortify beers. However, they have now determined that no major NZ breweries fortify their beer in that way, so they now consider NZ beer to be pareve (neutral, neither dairy nor meat). See more here.

The KAA page notes that major import brands (but not boutique breweries) that contain no additives are kosher/pareve even without certification (other than NZ, as previously discussed). This must mean that NZ is unique in either using whey to produce ethanol or using ethanol to fortify beer, but I don't know which and didn't pursue that question with KAA.

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