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 is available with an easy search.
This Younger is separate from the better-known William Younger’s which had merged in Edinburgh with McEwan’s in 1931, and 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 this beer style in Mandate Palestine. Isaac Diskin was the local agent handling the brand. The Revolver label, pictured in the advert, appears to originate in the late 1800s.
Below is a bottle of the Sparkling Ale that seems clearly of the 1930s era.*
A July 1937 story in the same newspaper tells us that James Younger, 2nd Viscount Leckie (1880-1946), visited Palestine two years earlier. He decided to invest in a new brewery at Beit Vegan, now called Bat Yam, on a plot 500 metres from the seafront.
It was named Cabeer Breweries Ltd. The account describes its capacity and that it would brew a “Scotch ale”. Younger’s took a 20% interest in the venture. The rest of the capital would 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 still that George Younger was a shareholder in Cabeer.
This initiative followed on a long history by George Younger’s, not to mention the namesake William Younger, to export beer throughout the world and not least the Middle East. Some good background on this drive can 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 who formerly owned a large brewery in “Heilbroun”, i.e., Heilbronn, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
In 1963, a German historian or researcher, Hans Franke, penned a lengthy account of the history of Jewry in Heilbrunn, which forms part of its municipal archive. He mentioned the impact of the Nazi regime on Alfred Würzburger, his family, and their Adler Brewery. It’s not pretty, see p. 119, in particular. But the family 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 this local investment.
I believe what happened was, the Bat Yam brewery did not enter into commercial production until 1942.** The 1956 Annual Survey of Israel’s Economy stated Palestine Brewery bought Cabeer and completed the brewery at Bat Yam that year.
A 1944 news item confirms that 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 above.
Further news reports indicate that 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 the nascent Cabeer, particularly as it seems the start-up was delayed. This delay would explain why the agent I. Diskin was still distributing George Younger’s Scottish beer in Palestine in 1939.
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 from the late 1930s until 1942 under the original ownership, but I have not been able to substantiate this.