Beer in Turkey
Beer has existed as a beverage in Anatolia since the Sumerian civilization. Archaeological findings showing that Sumer peoples know how to ferment beer. Early Turks in Anatolia fermented boza that was much like the Kvas.
The modern history of beer in Turkey started with the Ottoman Empire. During certain periods in the Ottoman Empire, drinking alcoholic beverages was forbidden at some cities, but many small boza producers in Istanbul produced boza with a high alcohol level like beer. Beer was first produced and served at Erzurum by some small Armenian producers at "beer gardens" (Turkish: bira bahçeleri). The first modern production of beer in Turkey started with Bomonti beer factory in Istanbul at 1894 by the Helvatian Bomonti brothers. There were many pubs and bars in Istanbul, İzmir, and Thessaloniki. Production of beer in the Ottoman Empire was 1.2 billion liters in 1894. This increased to 9.9 billion liters in 1913–1914.
Atatürk, the first president of the Turkish Republic, founded an ale factory in Ankara. İsmet İnönü, the first prime minister of Turkey, worked to improve old Bomonti Beer Company. This created the first beer competition in Turkey.
The Turkish beer market experienced 20% growth from 2001 to 2005 with many international brands gaining popularity.
Efes Beverage Group, a subsidiary of Anadolu Group, is the largest producer of beer in Turkey with approximately 80% of the market. Their main product line is called Efes Pilsen (5.0% ABV), after the Turkish name for the ancient city of Ephesus near the İzmir brewery. Efes also produces Efes Dark, Efes Light, Efes Extra, Bomonti and Marmara. Also, as of March 2005, Foster's Lager has been brewed, marketed and distributed in Turkey through Efes Beverage Group. Efes exports to markets in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. A further addition has been the Efes Dark Brown which is flavored with coffee.
Efes also produce a Hefe Weiss and a Hefe Weiss Dunkel under the Gusta label.
Türk Tuborg, a former subsidiary of the Danish Carlsberg/Tuborg group, also brews beer in Turkey under the Tuborg name but is now owned by the Israeli Central Bottling Company (CBC). Danish Carlsberg is also popular in Turkey among other brands found internationally.
Another major brand, Tekel Birası, is known as the oldest producer of beer in Turkey (founded in 1890). It was a state monopoly brand until 2004. There is also Perge Pilsner managed by the Sural Group, which is located and mainly consumed in the Antalya province. There is also Diabrau produced for the Dia supermarket chain
- Atatürk's Forest Farm Ale (inactive)
- Becks, by Efes
- Bomonti (first beer company in Turkey; nationalized by TEKEL, it was rebranded as Tekel Birası; now produced by Efes Pilsener with the original recipe)
- Carlsberg, by Turk-Tuborg
- Dark, by Efes Pilsener (like ale)
- Dark Brown (coffee aromatized)
- Efes (lager, but with added rice and sugar)
- Efes Extra (high ABV)
- Foster's Lager, by Efes Pilsener
- Gusta, by Efes Pilsener (wheat malt ale)
- Tuborg Gold
- Tuborg Kırmızı (Red) (high ABV)
- Marmara Gold, by Efes Pilsener (%4.1)
- Marmara Kırmızı (Red) (high ABV)
- Miller, by Efes Pilsener
- Perge Pilsner, by Sural Group
- Vole (once)
- Löwenbrau (once)
- Unfiltered versions of Bomonti
- Pera Hefeweizer (once)
- Pera Pilsener (once)
- Pera Kölsh (once)
- Pera 1a
- Osmanlı’da Bira, BirayaDair.com
- Robert Joseph, Roger Protz, Dave Broom. The Complete Encyclopedia of Wine Beer and Spirits. Carlton Books.New York: 2000. ISBN 1-84222-063-2