The Manischewitz Company has been making traditional Jewish foods since Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz first opened a small matzo bakery in Cincinnati, OH in the late 1800s.

The Manischewitz Company has been making traditional Jewish foods since 1888, all going back to when Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz founded a small Matzo bakery in Cincinnati, Ohio. A recent immigrant to the United States, he brought with him from Poland a thorough knowledge of the Kosher laws. He started out making Passover matzo for his family and a few friends, but a good food secret never stays that way for long. He soon opened a small matzo bakery to feed the growing needs of the Cincinnati community.

During that great age of American innovation, Rabbi Manischewitz tinkered away in his small bakery, searching for the perfect solution to the age-old problem of how to make reliably kosher matzo on a large scale. He discovered that the secret is in the shape of the matzo itself. Instead of the typical round matzo, as they had been hand-baked for thousands of years, the key to assembly line matzo is square!

The first entirely automated Kosher matzo production was born, certified by an assembly of Rabbis from all over the world, travelling from far and wide to witness Rabbi Manischewitz’s marvelous matzo making machine.

By 1920, Manischewitz was the world’s largest matzo producer, at 1.25 million rectangular, sheet-like matzos a day, always strictly adhering to the Kosher laws. His bright, clean bakery would become a model for future kosher bakeries, both in America and abroad.

While Rabbi Manischewitz passed away in 1914, his family continued to manage the company with much success. It went public in 1929, one year before the release of “Tempting Kosher Recipes,” and began trading on the Cincinnati Stock exchange.

Unfortunately, 1929 also marked the start of the Great Depression, which forced the company to develop new strategies to survive the economic troubles of the following years. The company was able to stay afloat despite harsh economic conditions and even opened a second factory in New Jersey in 1930, which brought it closer to the larger Jewish populations in many major East Coast cities.

The Manischewitz Company we know today isn’t just about groundbreakingly good matzo. The 1930s saw the dawning of Manischewitz as a major food and beverage company with a wide portfolio of iconic options.

With the end of Prohibition in the United States came a brand-new avenue for the Manischewitz Company to explore…wine! In the 1940s, the Monarch Wine Company, based in Brooklyn, set out to
create an affordable kosher wine for the million-and-a-half Jewish people of New York City. One problem: when Monarch Wine came up with their genius idea, their company name was totally unrecognizable. So, the executives of Monarch approached The Manischewitz Company, proposing a licensing deal for the brand’s name, an agreement we’re proud to feature to this day.

In 1940, Manischewitz produced its first Tam Tam cracker, innovating a new and fun shape that used up leftover matzo dough. Perfect for schmears and toppings (chopped liver, anyone?), the iconic six-sided
shape became a modern staple of Jewish cuisine.

The five sons of Rabbi Dove Behr ran the business until the founder’s grandsons took over in the 1960s. They continued to run the company until 1972, when they turned its operational reins over to a team of professional managers. However, majority ownership of the company remained with the Manischewitz family.

Culinary innovation continued to be a cornerstone of Manischewitz, as they introduced new products that we still love and enjoy to this day. In 1954, the Manischewitz Company expanded to a new processing plant in Vineland, New Jersey, where gefilte fish, chicken soup, and borscht, three of today’s signature foods, were crafted and perfected. Bubby’s staple dishes were now available across the United States for us to sink our teeth into.

In 1973, Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan shouted “Man O Manischewitz!” from outer space (We know that’s not a new product, but it amused us…)

Further growth followed into the late 1900s and into the turn of the century. In 1981, the company entered into a licensing agreement with Goodman’s, makers and distributors of a line of matzo and matzo products. Three years later, in 1984, the company acquired Horowitz Margareten’s name and trademark, and began marketing a line of kosher foods under that name. The Manischewitz Company and its family of brands became OU certified in 1984, marking an important milestone for kosher customers.

The company remained under the control of the Manischewitz heirs until January 1991, when it was purchased by Kohlberg & Co. and once again became a private company. In May 1998, Millbrook Distribution Services, a subsidiary of R.A.B. Enterprises, purchased Manischewitz from Kohlberg. Once again, Manischewitz traded hands in 2007, this time from R.A.B. to Harbinger Capital; then once more in April, 2014, The Manischewitz Company was sold to Sankaty Advisors, an arm of the private equity firm Bain Capital.