A bit of history in a rather unusual place

| No Comments
Pakistan is a strongly Muslim nation 97% to be precise. Now what the hell is a Brewery and Distillery doing there... From Der Spiegel Online:
Distilling the Muslim World's First 20-Year-Old Whisky
An almost 150-year-old brewery in Pakistan is preparing to bring the Muslim world's first 20-year-old single malt whisky to the market. Murree Brewery, however, can only sell to non-Muslims, who comprise 3 percent of Pakistan's population.

The heart of the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi is dotted with paradoxes.

Amidst the foliage of the Jinnah National Park, an expansive garden that houses the prison where former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Bhutto was hanged in 1979, the giant "M" of an American fast food chain rises like a monolith.

Behind it runs the National Park Road, a leafy, residential avenue replete with road blocks and bearded men carrying submachine guns. Hanging over it all is the distinct and unmistakable smell of fermenting alcohol.

What, in Allah's name, is going on here?

The 150-year-old Murree Brewery is teeming with activity. One of the Islamic world's most successful breweries will soon launch a rare, one-off product of its distillery: a 20-year-old single malt whisky that is the first of its kind in the Muslim world.

But the armed police are not here to guard the amber fluid. They're here to protect the brewery's equally famous neighbor on National Park Road and currently the man most wanted by Islamic terrorists in the region: Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, the country's leader and teetotaller-in-chief.

"The irony is lost on nobody," chuckles brewery owner Minoo Bhandara, peering through his glasses at the tall gates of Musharaff's house across the street as he takes a sip of a beer brewed from Bavarian hops. But he insists that the existence of a brewery in a country where the 97-percent Muslim majority is barred from drinking alcohol is not some freak occurrence: "It merely reflects an age-old tolerance which the West is ignorant about."
The brewery has quite a pedigree:
Murree Brewery was founded in 1860 by relatives of the British mountaineer Edward Whymper, who, five years later, became the first man to scale the Matterhorn. It is named after the misty, western Himalayan town of Murree, located some 50 kilometers away from Rawalpindi and the city in which the brewery was originally founded to quench the thirst of British troops in colonial India.
And the brewers are not slouches:
International recognition is nothing new for the company. Murree Beer was awarded a medal for product excellence at the Philadelphia Exhibition in 1876, and various other international awards over the past 140 years. The company's 8-year-old single malt whisky has already received lavish praise from none less than three-time Glenfiddich Whisky Writer of the Year Jim Murray.

"Not only does (Murree whisky) compare favorably, it is much better than a number of less-known Scotch malts," Murray writes in his Complete Book of Whisky. "Crisp and delicate ... so good is this whisky that ... (you) smell a drained glass in the morning and you are swamped by its fabulously honeyed riches."
And it sounds like a great place to work:
Murree will launch its real jewel, its 20-year-old single malt, as part of a one-time limited edition offer next year. There will be 200 cases of 12 bottles each, priced modestly at 2,500 Pakistan rupees (around $40) a bottle. The brewery is also thinking of selling posters and souvenirs of the original, lithographic calendars and paintings of the Murree hills made by the Whympers family.

In the dark, cool cellars of the Murree distillery, many of the employees handling the huge oak casks wear Muslim prayer-caps. Murree can even boast a female bookkeeper. Of course, not all employees drink, but those who do are not afraid to admit it. Perhaps most importantly, none are ashamed of their job, no matter what their conservative neighbors might mumble.

"Most people don't really care where we work, but some do," says US-trained brewer and technical manager Mohammed Javed. "There are lots of other, more serious evils which the Koran forbids, like hurt and torture -- why don't they focus on eliminating those?"
Hmmmm... Wonder if any of this nectar will reach the states. Their website is here: Murree Bewery Corp.

Leave a comment

January 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            

Environment and Climate
AccuWeather
Cliff Mass Weather Blog
Climate Depot
Ice Age Now
ICECAP
Jennifer Marohasy
Solar Cycle 24
Space Weather
Watts Up With That?


Science and Medicine
Junk Science
Life in the Fast Lane
Luboš Motl
Medgadget
Next Big Future
PhysOrg.com


Geek Stuff
Ars Technica
Boing Boing
Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
FAIL Blog
Hack a Day
Kevin Kelly - Cool Tools
Neatorama
Slashdot: News for nerds
The Register
The Daily WTF


Comics
Achewood
The Argyle Sweater
Chip Bok
Broadside Cartoons
Day by Day
Dilbert
Medium Large
Michael Ramirez
Prickly City
Tundra
User Friendly
Vexarr
What The Duck
Wondermark
xkcd


NO WAI! WTF?¿?¿
Awkward Family Photos
Cake Wrecks
Not Always Right
Sober in a Nightclub
You Drive What?


Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog


Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
DIYPhotography
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
PetaPixel
photo.net
Shorpy
Strobist
The Online Photographer


Blogrolling
A Western Heart
AMCGLTD.COM
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cobb
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Instapundit
iowahawk
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Neanderpundit
neo-neocon
Power Line
ProfessorBainbridge.com
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Samizdata.net
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Velociworld
Weasel Zippers
WILLisms.com
Wizbang


Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Allah
BigPictureSmallOffice
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
MegaPundit
Masamune
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Publicola
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on August 21, 2007 10:45 PM.

A particularly nasty bit of malware - Storm Worm was the previous entry in this blog.

Right Place? Check! Right Time? Check! is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Pages

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 5.2.9