Sunday, 17 July 2011

Brewing in the Face of Adversity


Some brewers and breweries often face huge challenges, barriers and obstacles and have to go to great lengths to ensure that their products get to market and sate the appetites and quench the thirsts of their customers.

Some of these barriers are economic. Others, geographical and in some extreme cases the barriers to progress can be political.

Often, these barriers are insurmountable and can cause breweries to fail and go to the wall. However, special mention must be given to those breweries that have risen to the challenges in front of them and have managed to survive despite the odds being stacked against them.

One such brewery is the unique and remarkable Taybeh Brewing Co, based in the West Bank village of the same name in the Palestinian Territories. The name Taybeh incidentally means 'tasty' or 'delicious'. It is unique in that it is the only Palestinian brewery and remarkable that it has managed to grow and expand despite the cultural, religious, legal and political restrictions placed upon it.

Since the brewery opened in 1994 it has overcome curfews, checkpoints, forced temporary closures and has to operate within a society that bans all forms of alcohol advertisement. However, the company has succeeded and flourished. It produces 600,000 litres each year of their four different beer styles - Golden, Light, Amber and Dark - with 60% of the sales being within the West Bank, 30% to Israel and 10% exported to countries such as Japan and Sweden. The brewery even holds an annual Oktoberfest event that is attended by over 10,000 Palestinians, Israelis and tourists all united in the common purpose of enjoying good beer.

Despite being based in the West Bank, Taybeh Brewing Co is truly an international affair: The hops come from Bavaria and the Czech Republic, the yeast from London and the malted barley from Belgium and France. The  brewing equipment is a mishmash of second hand French and Belgian kit and even the brewing process conforms to the German beer purity law, the Reinheitsgebot.

They now intend to expand their business further into Europe and intend to broaden their beer making by brewing under license in Belgium and Germany. So, there is now a strong possibility of seeing beers by Taybeh in fridges and on the shelves of  bars and off sales around the country.

If you see them, do give them a try.

After everything Taybeh Brewing Co has been through, It's the least we can do.


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