Pakistan, a country riddled with terrorism for the past decade, where people are angrier than they are happy and fundamentalist mindsets enjoy a majority stronghold.
One “infidelic” element, that spawned a hundred and fifty two years ago, still remains and is flourishing more than ever; it is known as the Murree Brewery.
In Pakistan, where the strongest drink a man can publicly drink is either a can of Red Bull or the carefully excreted spit-juice from his chewing tobacco (paan). Murree Brewery has managed to curb this everyday scourge of depression and anguish by serving our alcohol-thirsty nation ice cold bottles of their classic lager, one bottle at a time.
Soaring through numerous political, financial and social hurdles Murree Brewery has now finally signed a deal with the Pakistan government which will allow Murre Brewery products to be exported to other non-Muslim countries.
This change of regulation is seen by many, as a golden opportunity to build new bridges between Pakistan and its arch rival India, where alcohol is largely produced, sold and purchased openly via mainstream.
An article appeared on LA times website, where Isphanyar Bhandara, Chief Executive of Murree Brewery, was asked if it was a feasible prospect to bring Murree Beer into the Indian markets, to which he said, “Business has to prevail, it has to be the bridge, I would say”. Government authorities, have realized that keeping a lid on alcohol, allowing it in Pakistan but not allowing it to be exported, doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make economic sense.”
Murree Brewery can now legally export its products to any non-Muslim nation in the world.
According to a recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek, Murree Brewery is now expected to double its sales to almost $9 billion by the year 2016. The probability of Murree Brewery being imported by Indian buyers is relatively high, given that Muree Beer is already being smuggled into the Indian Punjab via its borders.
Recently, Pakistan and India also signed the most-favored nation agreement; this agreement has lowered the import tariff and increased the import quota giving both countries more than ample reason to trade with each other.
Murree Brewery Chief executive, Isphandyar Bhandara, while speaking to the American newspaper said that, “We are keeping our fingers crossed and shouting at Indian Punjab to import our beer, but it’s a hard sell in India, they are already producing beer in millions of barrels… So it’s not that we are going to put crates on the border, and people are going to come and quickly snatch it up. We don’t see that happening, though we wish it would.”
Murree, like most alcoholic brands faces local competition in the form of Indus Brewery, based down south in the province of Sindh. But it’s virtually a mini-brewery compared to the 152 year old pioneer Muree Brewery.
Muree Brewery executive, Bhandara said he was aware that his brand requires outstanding marketing and various business resources to compete with Indian beer giants like Kingfisher. But strong conviction and belief that Murree Beer tastes better than any other beer available in India has motivated him to keep looking for potential importers from the other side, he said, “Our beer beats any Indian beer hands down.”
For more than 60 years, Pakistan and India have fought wars and blamed each other for what actually have been their own wrong-doings.
As the governments go back and forth on the process of dialogue, people from both countries interact and are baffled as to why both nations are still not able to establish a friendly and neighborly relationship. The cold war between Pakistan and India, which often turns hot, needs to be cooled down once in for all and what better way than to send a message of peace attached to a chilled can of Murree Beer.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above article are of the writer’s only and do not necessarily represent Aaj.tv/Aaj News policies.
Story first published: 11th July 2012