"Every time we sell a bottle of beer it goes toward building the state of Palestine," said Nadim Khoury, owner of the 'Taybeh' brewing company, the only Palestinian brewery in the Palestinian territories.
Located in the West Bank town of Taybeh outside Ramallah, the brewery was established by Khoury following the 1993 Oslo accords, and is currently in its 11th year of operation, according to the AFP.
Until now, 'Taybeh' has sold only alcoholic beer, both a light and darker version available in locations that sells beer in the West Bank, as well as in Britain, Germany and Israel.
However, Khoury recently decided to market a new type of non-alcoholic beer in light of the election of the Hamas party. The new beer will feature an Arabic-only label in Hamas' trademark color - green.
"I figured why not have a green label so it will match?" said Khoury, who added, "All customers will notice the green for the Hamas flag."
At first, only a few hundred bottles of the 'Hamas' beer will be produced, to test its popularity. Signs are promising: in several Arab countries, non-alcoholic beer is extremely popular, with Heineken purchasing Egypt's Al-Ahram Beverages for some 280 million dollars in the past.
It is still unclear whether or not the ascension of Hamas to power in the Palestinian government will result in stricter regulations against the sale of alcohol - a move that would definitely hurt the business.
Khoury hopes that launching the non-alcoholic version will be not only a boost to sales, but also to Palestine, as he sees the success of Palestinian business as a crucial step for the establishment of an independent state.
Currently, some 1.2 million pints of 'Taybeh' beer are sold yearly, though prior to the 2000 Intifada against the Israeli occupation, sales were more than twice that much.
Moreover, for the past several years, Taybeh has not been sold in the Gaza Strip, as one of his distribution outlets was torched by those offended by Taybeh's sales there.
However, says Khoury, he believes that since all Palestinians are interested in a unified goal, Hamas leaders will recognize the positive side of the success of his brewery.
© 2006 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )