After 150 years, business is booming at Pakistan’s only beer and whisky firm. Andrew Buncombe in the Independent:
On the walls of the historic Murree brewery, Pakistan’s sole producer of beer, hangs a slogan that its owners would wish upon the entire country. “Eat, drink and be Murree,” puns the poster, seemingly produced in the 1970s.
Understandably, making beer and whiskey in a Muslim country, where 97 per cent of the population is officially banned from enjoying your products, has never been an easy business. Non-Muslims are exempt from the ban, but even for them obtaining a drink can be complicated: some five-star hotels require foreigners to affirm in writing that they are non-Muslims and will be responsible for anything that happens when they are under the influence before they can order a drink.
And amid the upsurge of militant violence of the last two years that has seen the Taliban attacking targets across the country, setting fire to girls’ schools and even banning the sale of videos and DVDs, common sense might suggest that the fortunes of this establishment, which celebrates its 150th anniversary next year, might be on the wane. Yet the opposite is happening: sales are booming – embarrassingly so. More: