Murree Brewery's logo
|Location||National Park Road, Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan|
|Owned by||Isphanyar M. Bhandara (present Chief Executive)|
Murree Brewery (Urdu: مری; KSE: MUREB) is a Pakistani multinational manufacturer of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. It is Pakistan's largest and oldest producer of alcoholic product's, in 2015, it produced 10 million litres of beer, along with hundreds of tons of single malt whisky, scotch whisky, vodka and brandy.
Founded by the British in 1860, it is a publicly traded company listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange, its products are exported to India and Bangladesh. In 2014, the company established a flagship store on Park Avenue, in Manhattan, New York City. In 2013, it was named by Forbes as Asia's 200 best companies.
The Brewery was managed by the family of Edward Dyer, father of Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer of Jallianwala Bagh massacre. 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 independence of Pakistan in 1947, while the brewery in Quetta was destroyed in the 1935 Quetta earthquake. In the 1940s, the controlling share or interest in the brewery was obtained by Peshton Bandhara, who used to run a liquor business in Lahore prior to the independence of Pakistan. His son, late M.P. Bandhara later carried on the business and now it is being run by a grandson, Mr Isphanyar Bandhara.
In the 1960s the brewery imported oak casks 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.
"Rarest Malt Whisky"
In 2007, Murree became the Muslim world's first brewery to make 20-year-old malt whisky named "Rarest Malt Whisky". But, according to law, it cannot be exported and cannot be consumed by 97% of the population of Pakistan as local law prohibits Muslims from drinking alcohol. However, CEO of Murree claims that "99 per cent of his customers are Muslims".
In 1977, the Murree Brewery suffered a significant setback when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto imposed a total alcohol 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 places 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 Foster's, but this scheme is still in development.
The Murree Brewery is one of the oldest public companies of the South Asia. 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.
In 2013, Murree Brewery opened a franchise in India to a Bangalore-based entrepreneur, allowing the brewing, bottling and marketing of the beer in India.
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