Murree Brewery's logo
|Location||National Park Road, Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan|
|Owner(s)||Mr. Isphanyar Bhandara (present Chief Executive)|
Murree Brewery (KSE: MUREB) is the maker of Pakistan's brewery brand, Murree Beer. The brewery has two manufacturing units located in Rawalpindi Punjab Province and Hattar Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (formerly North-West Frontier Province (NWFP)).
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 Balochistan earthquake. In the 1940s, the controlling share or interest in the brewery was obtained by the late Mr Peshton Bandhara, who used to run a liquor business in Lahore prior to the independence of Pakistan. His son, late M.P. Bhandara later carried on the business and now it is being run by a grandson, Mr Isphanyar Bandhara.
In the 1960s, oak casks were imported 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.
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 Fosters, but this scheme is still in development.
The Murree Brewery is one of the oldest public companies of the sub-continent. 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.
- Murree Brewery Pakistan, Forbidden Bevarage, Isphanyar Bhandara is Zoroastrian | Parsi News Zoroastrian News
- Murree Brewery Still brewing in a dry land: Pakistan’s Parsi Brewery | Parsi Khabar
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- New Year’s Eve: City too dry and too wet Malik, Sonia; The Express Tribune; December 31, 2010
- "Murree Brewery soon to brew in India". Express Tribune. 30 November 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Buncombe, Andrew (5 November 2009). "Still brewing in a dry land: Pakistan's only beer and whisky firm". The Independent (London). Retrieved 5 November 2009.
- McCarthy, Rory (22 July 2000). "Islam and Black Label hit brewery". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 11 December 2009.
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