Bottle caps of Al-Shark (Al-Sharq) and Barada beer, manufactured in Shumen, Bulgaria in 1988
In Syria, the production and distribution of beer is controlled by the government, and most widely sold through the army's Military Social Establishment supermarket chain and through mini markets in city centres and Christian as well as Muslim areas. Imported beers are not common, although brands like Almaza, Heineken and Amstel are popular and available in hotels or smuggled to some stores in the different parts of cities. Two local brands of beer are available in Syria: Al-Shark (from Aleppo) and Barada (from Damascus).
Al-Shark Beer (or al-Chark) is a product of Al-Shark Company for Food Stuff Prodcuts in Aleppo. It was founded in 1954 and fully owned by the government of Syria. It is a pale lager beer frequently rated superior, slightly higher in alcohol (3.7%) and more delightful than Barada beer. It is complex beer with medium malt body, yet fresh and distinctive.
Barada Beer is a product of Barada Beer Company in Damascus. It was founded in 1977 and fully owned by the government of Syria. Barada is a pale lager beer with the quality of bottling is highly variable and frequently poor. It is 3.4% alcohol and has yellowish hazy color, fruity aroma, mild, light and fresh body.