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 Palestinian brewery to launch 'Hamas' near beer

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PostSubject: Palestinian brewery to launch 'Hamas' near beer   Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:54 pm

Palestinian brewery to launch 'Hamas' near beer

First Published 2006-02-22


Satisfying non-alcoholic needs in the Palestinian market

Beermaker decides to develop non-alcoholic beer brandished with label that matches Hamas's trademark color.

By Kerry Sheridan - TAYBEH, West Bank

Like any good entrepreneur, Palestinian beermaker Nadim Khoury knew that adaptation would be key to his brewery's survival under a government led by the Islamists of Hamas.

So anticipating the hardliners' rise to power in January's general election, Khoury decided to develop a new product - a non-alcoholic microbrew brandished with a label that coordinates perfectly with Hamas's trademark color.

"I figured why not have a green label so it will match?" said Khoury, who runs the Taybeh Brewing Company, the only brewery in the Palestinian territories. "All customers will notice the green for the Hamas flag."

The alcohol-free version of Taybeh beer, with a label inscribed only in Arabic and whose name means "delicious," is to be released this summer and will target the "local market," he said.

Non-alcoholic beer is already popular in a number of conservative Gulf Arab countries which officially ban booze sales.

The lucrative market potential was highlighted by a deal four years ago which saw Egypt's largest brewer of "near-beer," Al-Ahram Beverages, bought by Heineken for 280 million dollars.

Khoury says he will start small with his new beer, maybe only a few hundred bottles at first, but he has big dreams for his brewing factory in the hilltop village of Taybeh, a historically Christian town of about 1,300 people near Ramallah in the West Bank.

A sense of homeland pride and the family's ability to invest more than one million dollars spurred Nadim, who was born in Taybeh, to return after two decades in the United States in order to build the brewery shortly after the signing of the Oslo peace accords in 1993.

Now in its 11th year of business, Khoury said the brewery sells the equivalent of about 1.2 million pints per year, though its peak output was more than twice that in 2000 prior to the outbreak of the second intifada against Israeli occupation.

Violence was bad for business, and the intifada brought a wave of harsher regulations in many Palestinian cities.

Khoury hasn't been able to sell his beer in the Gaza Strip for years, since militants torched the home of one of his distribution outlets and radical Islamists effectively made selling alcohol impossible throughout the crowded territory.

But Khoury hopes attitudes will change with his new non-alcoholic beer.

"I don't want to smuggle my beer in Palestine. I believe I have a right to sell mine (in the Gaza Strip)," said Khoury, an unabashed nationalist who touts his beer factory as a boon to the Palestinian people and their economy.

"Every time we sell a bottle of beer it goes toward building the state of Palestine," said Khoury.

Khoury says his first name Nadim means "your friend who sits at the bar with you, your drinking buddy," and his chief product is Taybeh Golden beer, though he also makes a light version and a dark beer.

The Taybeh brews are concocted from four natural ingredients -- malted barley, hops, yeast and pure spring water. Each bottle sells for around one dollar.

The gentle, amber-colored Taybeh Golden is sold in parts of Israel, the West Bank, Britain and Germany.

However, among secular Muslims in the area who do drink alcohol, not all are devoted fans of its mellow taste.

"It's okay. It's good," shrugged one Arab-Israeli taxi driver in Jerusalem, who admitted he hadn't drunk any Taybeh in at least two years.

A waiter at a bar in occupied East Jerusalem said: "I prefer Irish whiskey. Jameson."

Hamas leaders, who now dominate parliament, have not made clear whether or not they will seek to impose conservative sharia law which would impose a wider ban on alcohol.

Khoury remains optimistic.

"I think they (Hamas) are very smart, very educated. I believe they will think twice before they do anything to hurt our business."

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PostSubject: Re: Palestinian brewery to launch 'Hamas' near beer   Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:54 pm

I know this isn't new news, in fact it's nearly 3 years old, but i kinda forgot about it till today so i decided to post it Neutral

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PostSubject: Re: Palestinian brewery to launch 'Hamas' near beer   Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:00 pm

Crazeh stuff....
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PostSubject: Re: Palestinian brewery to launch 'Hamas' near beer   Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:01 pm

Does it sell well? Rubeyes
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PostSubject: Something is brewing in Palestine: Oktoberfest in Taybeh   Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:09 pm

Something is brewing in Palestine: Oktoberfest in Taybeh

Jonathan Cook, The National, Oct 16, 2008

This article was originally published by The National and is republished with the author's permission.


A Palestinian man fills a glass with the Palestinian-brewed Taybeh Beer at the central West Bank village's annual Oktoberfest. (Maan Images)

The small village of Taybeh, nestling in the mountains of the West Bank, has established several Palestinian firsts, but it hopes its latest will make it a household name in the Arab world.

As well as being the only entirely Christian village in the Palestinian territories and running the only Palestinian brewery, it now hopes to export what it is calling a "non-alcoholic beverage", modelled on its popular Golden Taybeh beer, to Muslims across the Middle East.

The new drink was launched last weekend at the village's annual beer festival, where the green-labeled bottles were sold alongside regular draught beer.

In the West Bank Palestinians are already dubbing it "Hamas beer", seeing it as the brewery's response to the growing influence of the Islamic movement in both Gaza and the West Bank.

Taybeh, located close to Ramallah, has been staging its beer festival for the past four years, modelling the event on the Oktoberfest staged in Munich.

The microbrewery, established in 1995, is the brainchild of brothers Nadim and David Khoury, who were lured back to Taybeh by the signing of the Oslo accords after more than two decades in the United States.

Believing like many others that a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was on the horizon, they ploughed US$1.2 million of their own money into the factory. They also won the endorsement of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader then, to forestall any backlash.

The 1,300 inhabitants of Taybeh, which means "delicious" in Arabic, have come largely to depend on the beer for their livelihoods.

But after initial commercial success and plaudits from connoisseurs for the quality of their ale, which is brewed to the highest German purity standards, the business has been struggling since the outbreak of the second intifada in late 2000.

Profits have been squeezed both by the obstructions imposed by the Israeli army on all Palestinian exports from the occupied territories and by Hamas's success in keeping many Palestinian areas "dry".

Sales of the beer are restricted mainly to Christian concentrations in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Beit Sahour and Beit Jalla.

But with Christians numbering only a few per cent of the total Palestinian population, Taybeh has been keen to find way to reach the rest of the Palestinian population. To do this, they have had to import special equipment from Germany to de-alcoholise the beer.

It is too early, however, to say whether green-label Taybeh will be selling soon in shops and restaurants in Hamas-controlled Gaza. The brewery is waiting to talk to Hamas officials to seek their approval.

But Nadim Khoury, 48, also has his sights on a far larger market in the Arab world.

"One of our tasks is showing the world, including the Arab public, that the Palestinians can produce a world-class product," he said. "And our new drink means all Palestinians can share in the success story."

But if they are to succeed with their export business, the Khoury brothers must first find a way to get their beer out of the West Bank.

"Israel controls all the borders, so we can't do anything unless they are prepared to help," said David Khoury, who is also Taybeh's mayor. "But so far what we have faced is harassment in the name of security."

He noted that even when the checkpoints are open, Israel holds up the company's trucks for many hours while bottles are unloaded and individually inspected with sniffer dogs. Then the bottles have to be reloaded on to Israeli trucks on the other side of the checkpoint.

Apart from local spring water, all the beer's ingredients and the bottles are imported from Europe, adding further logistical problems at Israeli ports.

After the intifada, Taybeh's output of more than 600,000 litres a year slumped by 80 per cent. Although this year has been the best since 2000, the brewery is still facing major difficulties reaching its main markets, particularly Jerusalem and Israel. Limited supplies are sold to Israeli cities that include a significant number of Christians, such as Nazareth, Haifa and Jaffa; a few Jewish establishments in Tel Aviv offer the beer.

The most pressing problem is the lack of a high-tech scanner to screen beer kegs at the nearest checkpoint into Israel, at Ofer. This would allow Taybeh to compete with other major beers in Israel by exporting kegs to provide beer on tap to hotels and restaurants.

But so far Israel has restricted such scanners to two checkpoints, far away and near the Muslim cities of Tulkarm and Hebron. Given sensitivities in both cities, Taybeh has decided not to use either crossing point.

David Khoury noted that Israel has absolute freedom to flood the occupied territories with its own products. "The policy is clearly meant to harm businesses like ours. Israel freely sells its Maccabeh and Goldstar beers in the West Bank." Ultimately, he added, the success of local businesses like his was the key to developing the Palestinian economy, improving the lives of ordinary Palestinians and moving peace nearer.

Nadim Khoury said delays at the Israeli checkpoints and ports made exporting the beer further afield impractical for the time being. However, Taybeh is selling to markets in Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom from a Belgian plant under licence, the first Palestinian franchise ever sold abroad.

He hoped a similar arrangement might be possible in the Arab world.

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PostSubject: Re: Palestinian brewery to launch 'Hamas' near beer   Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:10 pm

Noorayn wrote:
Does it sell well? Rubeyes

They don't seem to say scratch

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PostSubject: Re: Palestinian brewery to launch 'Hamas' near beer   Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:41 pm

thats kind of....dodgy...
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PostSubject: Re: Palestinian brewery to launch 'Hamas' near beer   Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:46 pm

KeeKee wrote:
thats kind of....dodgy...

I can just hear you saying that. =P

Typical Keeks!

hah!

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PostSubject: Re: Palestinian brewery to launch 'Hamas' near beer   Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:10 pm

Quote :
thats kind of....dodgy...

Kind of only?

There is no such thing as non alcoholic beer, all beer contain alcohol, every single non alcoholic beer contains a minute amount of alcohol, 0.5% if i recall correctly, which clearly makes it haraam.

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PostSubject: The Dangers of Drinking Non-Alcoholic Beverages   Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:14 pm

Non-Alcoholic Beer
The Dangers of Drinking NA Beverages
By Buddy T, About.com
Updated: February 6, 2004

About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board


They call it "near beer" and it may be nearer than you think.
Those trying to abstain from alcohol are warned against the use of non-alcoholic beer, now there may be scientific evidence to support the admonition.

Recently in a topic discussion in our Alcoholism Forum, a visitor was given many different reasons why others had decided not to try so-called non-alcoholic beer, if they wanted to remain sober. Avoiding the temptation was the reason most often offered.

Other than the fact that all "NA" beer does contain a small amount of alcohol, there is now a new study out that seems to support the theory that it can cause a relapse for recovering alcoholics.

In the November issue of the Journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, a team of California scientists report that smell may be enough to trigger cravings and a subsequent relapse among certain alcoholics.

In their laboratory experiments, rats were trained to self-administer alcohol or a bitter, white substance called quinine when they smelled either orange or banana. The smell of banana was used when the rats consumed alcohol, while the smell of orange was presented to them when the rats tasted quinine.

Both alcohol and the anticipation of alcohol may raise levels of a brain chemical called dopamine, which plays a role in feelings of elation and pleasure, according to the investigators. The researchers found increases in dopamine in the rats' brains before and after smelling these "alcohol-related cues." One visitor to our Forum said her family member seemed to develop the same attitudes and behavior while drinking NA Beer as he used to do when he was drinking the real stuff. This finding could help explain that phenomenon.

The California study has been cited by scientists as an important step in the possible development of medications that may prevent relapse. As many as 90 percent of alcoholics will experience one relapse in the four years after they quit drinking, according to statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Dr. Friedbert Weiss from The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, said, "This is our study's significance: it provides a reliable tool that allows us to investigate brain mechanisms and neurochemical systems so that we can embark on a more educated approach to find effective medications."

In the meantime, the best advice for those trying to remain sober, would be to stay away from anything that even smells like alcohol.

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