Palestine's boozy revolution: Taybeh beer heads for global domination
Taybeh, which is Arabic for ‘delicious’, is a village 35km north of Jerusalem in the Occupied West Bank. It also happens to be the name-sake of a tasty drop of alcohol that is gaining a glowing reputation for its crisp, fresh taste, despite its unusual roots.
Now the rest of the world is starting to hear about the wonders of Palestinian ale, with the founders firmly eying up the US market, which itself has recently seen a micro-brewery boom, as part of a $5 billion-strong industry.
Japan, a country with a taste for beer, drinking 9 billion litres of the stuff each year, is starting to get on board the Taybeh bandwagon too. Around ten per cent of the 60,000 barrels the brewery makes a year, head over to Tokyo and beyond, making it the largest market for the company.
In the hopeful days after the 1994 Oslo accords, the Khoury family set-out out to start the first microbrewery in the region. Taybeh even predated Israel’s first attempt at locally brewed beer.
Master-brewer and co-founder, Nadim Khoury, said: “Well, I want to make something for my homeland, for Palestine. I'm a risk-taker, I'm an entrepreneur. I believe I just want to do something different than any others in Palestine," Israel's Ynet news organization reported.
Khoury added, "Palestinians have lost their nationalistic feeling for so many years because we've been under the wars, under occupation, and now they are proudly serving Taybeh beer in bars and we create a good market in Palestine.”
The beer has also become an integral part of the local economy. Producing up the 4,000 bottles an hour, the Taybeh brewery provides much needed jobs and brings in hundreds of vistors with its annual ‘Oktoberfest’ celebration of the four different beers.
Taybeh used to be sold in upmarket Israeli bars until the Second Intifada, but now Khoury and his co-founders are setting the sights higher as the delicious beer is going global. It is now being brewed under license in the Mecca of beers: Germany.
Co-owner Madees Khoury, says “People all over the world don't know that Palestinians maybe drink beer or drink alcohol or produce high-quality products. Our beer made Taybeh famous and people now know the name Taybeh, know the beer, know the town. It's internationally recognized; it's sold internationally. It's a high quality product.”
Will you be sampling a drop of Palestinian beer or will you stay away from Arab ales? Tell us what you think below.