The same faded red and white logo is deployed outside nearly every liquor store in Jordan. It brandishes the name of a Dutch company that has brewed here since 1958 and come to dominate—some say monopolize—the beer industry. But a newcomer recently stepped into this Amstel-ruled market, aiming to radically reshape the industry by introducing craft beer.
Beer drinkers have rejoiced, extolling the mere concept of a craft brew interrupting the country’s monotonous beer landscape. Yet the future of Jordan’s first microbrewery, Carakale, is far from assured, even though it has wildly exceeded expectations. As alcohol taxes rise along with water, gas, and electricity costs, mounting concerns weigh on Carakale’s young founder, Yazan Karadsheh.
Karadsheh is affable but earnest. His eyes carry traces of the weariness and satisfaction of his work, where his shifts last anywhere from 16 to 27 hours. “I’m not starting a microbrewery,” he told me adamantly. “I’m starting a craft industry.”
Self-described as in love with beer, Karadsheh got his start in Boulder, Colorado. He had earned a degree in electrical engineering and gone to work for Halliburton, but it was “hell on earth,” so he quit, landing an unpaid gig in a homebrew supply store in Boulder instead. He eventually enrolled in the Master Brewer’s program at UC Davis and gained more firsthand experience at a brewpub and then a microbrewery in Colorado.
It was the latter, Karadsheh said, that gave him the confidence to start a brewery in his home country, Jordan.
Original article by Elizabeth Whitman
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Brewing Beer in the Middle East Is a Tough Business