- Murree Brewery
Murree Brewery Location National Park Road, Rawalpindi, Pakistan Owner(s) Mr. Isphanyar Bhandara (Chief Executive) Year opened 1860 Active beers Name Type Murree beers Murree Beer Beer Murree's Classic Beer Beer Murree's Millennium Beer Lite Export Pils Beer Stout Beer Beer Liquors beers Rarest Malt Whisky Liquor Malt Whisky Classic Liquor Vintage Whisky Liquor Bolskaya Vodka Liquor Gin beers Silver Top Gin Gin London Dry Gin dry gin Citrus Gin Gin Lemo' Lime Gin Gin Non Alcoholic beers Cindy NAB Malt-79 Malt drink
Murree Brewery is the maker of Pakistan's beer brand, Murree Beer. Its products are only legally available in Pakistan owing to a prohibition on the exportation of alcohol from Pakistan. The brewery has two manufacturing units located in Rawalpindi and Hattar (North-West Frontier Province).
In the 1880s the company established a further brewery in Rawalpindi and a distillery in Quetta.
Due to scarcity of water in Murree in the 1920s, brewing was mostly transferred to Rawalpindi but malting continued at Ghora Gali until the 1940s, when this property was sold. This brewery, built in the Gothic style of architecture, was burnt during the partition riots of 1947/48, while the brewery in Quetta was destroyed in the 1935 Balochistan earthquake.
In the 1960s oak casks were imported from North America, Australia and Spain and the underground cellars now hold over half a million litres of malt whisky for varying periods of maturation up to 12 years. Murree brewery produces a generally excellent world class single malt whisky.
New beer canning and modern bottle filling facility were installed in the 1990s, imported from Germany. In 2001, the brewery had been temporarily closed for producing too much polluting waste. Authorities slapped the environmental protection order on the Murree Brewery in Rawalpindi, Islamabad's twin city.
In 1977 the Murree Brewery suffered a significant setback when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto imposed a total prohibition in Pakistan, to appease Islamic elements of the electorate. Subsequently the government of General Zia-ul-Haq amended this law, requiring anyone wishing to consume alcohol to present credentials demonstrating that they were non-Muslim. The small Christian, Hindu and Parsi communities were not large enough to support the enterprise, and production had to be scaled back.
However, gradual relaxation of the prohibition laws has allowed Murree to introduce variations of Murree beer, vodka, gin and whisky. Today, all Murree products are readily available in legal liquor shops that operate openly in Karachi in places like Zamzama and Defence. It is also available in the interior of Sindh. Although the consumption of alcohol in public is still nominally banned, it is becoming increasingly available in clubs and high-class restaurants. Murree Beer was initially being produced in Austria for European markets and was available in various Pakistani and Indian restaurants, an enterprise which has since ceased since 2004. The current CEO, Isphanyar Bhandara has announced plans to pursue co-brewing with Fosters, but this is still in development.
The Murree Brewery is one of the oldest public companies of the sub-continent. Its shares were traded on the Calcutta Stock Exchange as early as 1902, and is now the oldest continuing industrial enterprise of Pakistan and among the top 25 performing public companies by the Karachi Stock Exchange.
Popular culture references
- The brewery was photographed and filmed by Michael Palin on his tours of the Himalaya and is featured in his DVD and book, Himalaya (book)/Himalaya with Michael Palin, documentary 2004. Palin stated the products of the Murree Brewery saved his life while traveling around Pakistan, which has laws restricting the consumption of alcohol.
- ^ http://www.parsinews.net/murree-brewery-pakistan-forbidden-bevarage-isphanyar-bhandara-is-zoroastrian/1545.html Parsee News
- ^ http://parsikhabar.net/food/murree-brewery-still-brewing-in-a-dry-land-pakistans-parsi-brewery/1939/
- ^ "Murree Brewery Company Ltd: History". Murree Brewery Company Ltd. http://www.murreebrewery.com/history.html. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
- ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1160990.stm BBC
- ^ http://tribune.com.pk/story/97183/new-years-eve-city-too-dry-and-too-wet/ Tribune Pakistan
- McCarthy, Rory (22 July 2000). "Islam and Black Label hit brewery". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2000/jul/22/rorymccarthy. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- Smith, Elliot Blair (5 July 2002). "Brewer must walk softly on obstacle-filled path". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/money/covers/2002-05-08-pakistani-beer.htm. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
- Buncombe, Andrew (5 November 2009). "Still brewing in a dry land: Pakistan's only beer and whisky firm". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/still-brewing-in-a-dry-land-pakistans-only-beer-and-whisky-firm-1814802.html. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
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