Monday, September 05, 2022

The Media Line has an article on the Oktoberfest in Taybeh, happening this month for some reason, which features Taybeh Beer:

It was the first microbrewery in the Middle East. Nadim says that, despite their great success, they operate under harsh conditions.

“We face many challenges; many stem from the Israeli occupation and the harsh restrictions it imposes on our exports and imports of ingredients we need for our operation,” he said.
Madees says her goal is to turn her family brewery into a global beer brand, and they must overcome many hurdles.

“But our biggest challenge is the occupation, it’s disruptive. We don’t have our own water, we don’t have enough water, 95% of beer is water and we can’t produce as much as we are able to because of the lack of water,” she explained.

Which is interesting, because in 2015, had a story about Taybeh beer, where they said:
All the beers are brewed in small batches, without additives or preservatives, and using natural spring water flowing from a nearby village. The other ingredients are imported from Europe: Belgian and French malts, Bavarian and Czech hops, and yeast from London that, as Nadim says, "gives good characteristics to the beer."
It doesn't sound like they had any problems with imports then, and their access to water is from a spring, not through Israel's water carrier. 

Similarly, the Boston Globe reported about the brewery in 2014:
There is also the question of water — a scarce resource in this arid part of the world. Continued Israeli settlement expansion has led to a disparity in water access, though Taybeh is able to use fresh water from a local spring. While they are all right for now, Khoury worries that in the future there may not be enough water to meet an increasing international demand.
The Jerusalem Post identifies the spring:
Taybeh’s secret is high-quality water from the Ein Samia spring five kilometers away, explains Buthina Canaan Khoury, Nadim’s and David’s youngest sister, in charge of brewery tours during the festival.  
The "Israel is stealing our water" theme seems to have only become part of the Taybeh beer family's narrative recently, such as in this DW article from 2019:

Today, an end to the occupation seems far off. And Taybeh needs access to water from a nearby spring that has fallen under the control of Israel. Hops, malt and yeast are imported from Europe.

The Israeli authorities can shut off that water supply at any time, Khoury said; they have done so more than once in the past. "We can't work without water," he said. 

I am not aware of any changes of the status of Ein Samia in recent years. The spring itself seems to be under full Palestinian control, according to B'Tselem's map of the territories. The UN declared in 2011 that Ein Samia was at "risk" of being taken over by "settlers" but it never happened. 

Apparently, Taybeh's owners have realized that the narrative of brewing their beer under horrible Israeli occupation, with restrictions on imports and exports that seem to not affect their ever-increasing sales, is a good business move, no matter what the truth is. 

Oh, and they have a new market:

“We are in 18 countries; we started in Palestine, now we are selling in San Francisco, Boston, Denmark, Japan, Canada, all over the world,” he [Nadim] said, adding that “next week we’ll send the first shipment to the United Arab Emirates. For the first time.”

If Israel hadn't normalized relations with the UAE, that wouldn't have happened. So maybe Israel is helping Taybeh Beer more than they are hurting it

Not that the current September Oktoberfest wave of articles would mention that. 

(h/t Irene)


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