Laving the Levant
This continues our series on beer in the British Mandate of Palestine. It began with this post, a correspondent’s tour of Palestine Brewery Ltd. in 1944.
Another British brewer in the Palestine market was George Younger of Alloa, Scotland. A brief history of the venerable brewery appears on the Brewery History Society Wiki, and more available by an easy search.
This Younger is separate from the better-known William Younger’s that had merged in Edinburgh with McEwan’s (1931), who also sold beer in the Palestine market.
An advert in 1934 in the Palestine Post touts George Younger’s Sparkling Ale, yet another example of the style in Palestine. Isaac Diskin was the local agent. The Revolver brand, pictured in the ad, appears to originate in the late 1800s.
Below is a bottle of the Sparkling Ale that appears to date from the Thirties.*
A July 1937 story in the same newspaper tells us that James Younger, 2nd Viscount Leckie (1880-1946), had visited Palestine two years earlier. He decided to invest in a new brewery at Beit Vegan, now Bat Yam, on a plot 500 metres from the seafront.
It was called Cabeer Breweries Ltd. The account describes its capacity and that it would brew “Scotch ale”. Younger’s took a 20% interest. The rest of the capital was to be subscribed locally in a public issue of securities.
While the story states that Lord Younger was a director of Cabeer, a letter to the editor clarified that he was not, but remained Chairman of George Younger in Alloa. The letter confirmed that George Younger was a shareholder in Cabeer.
This initiative followed on a long history by George Younger’s, not to mention namesake William Younger, to export beer throughout the world and not least the Middle East. Some good background on this drive may be gleaned from Wilson & Gourvish’s The Dynamics of the International Brewing Industry Since 1800. See here.
Per the July 1937 account, the manager of Cabeer Brewery was Mr. A. Würzburger, a “German Jew formerly owner of a large brewery in Heilbroun”, i.e., Heilbronn, Baden-Württemberg.
In 1963, a Hans Franke penned a lengthy account of the history of Jewry in Heilbrunn, part of its municipal archive. He mentions the impact of the Nazi regime on Alfred Würzburger, his family, and their Adler Brewery, and it’s not pretty, see p. 119. But they got out evidently, and to brew another day.
At the end of 1939 George Younger’s agent in Palestine is still advertising the imported ale and stout, despite that is the local investment.
I believe what happened was, the Bat Yam brewery did not enter into commercial production until 1942.** A 1956 Annual Survey of Israel’s Economy states Palestine Brewery bought Cabeer and completed the brewery at Bat Yam that year.
A 1944 news item confirms Palestine Brewery “built” the brewery in Bat Yam, to help satisfy military demand.
In 1943-1945 the press is carrying Notices of Annual Meeting for Cabeer Brewery signed by Palestine Brewery Limited, which is consistent with the foregoing.
Further reports indicate Cabeer took over premises in Rishon LeZion made available when Palestine Brewery expanded its plant, so it all ties together.
Perhaps once war started in Europe George Younger decided to sell its stake in Cabeer, particularly as it seems start-up was delayed. The delay would explain why I. Diskin in 1939 was still distributing George Younger’s Scottish beer in Palestine.
Note: our series continues with Part V.
*Note re image: source of the image is apparently the Etsy independent sales site, although item appears no longer listed there. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to the lawful owner, as applicable. Used for educational and research purposes. All feedback welcomed.
**Perhaps some beer was released in the late 30s until 1942 under the original ownership, but this is unclear.