The Levant Brewery Ltd., Mandate Palestine

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.

Palestine Post issues and other sources show that a third brewery operated in 1940s Mandate Palestine: Levant Brewery Ltd. It was operated by Abraham Bartz, and the beer was distributed by Nathan Zwy, the liquors agent who distributed beer from Barclay, Perkins of London and other reputed alcohol brands.

I believe Zwy and Bartz were both directors of the brewery based on various announcements in the 1940s Palestine press.

The Levant Brewery was unique in that a malt and hop extract was used. This is made clear in a January 1942 notice from the brewery announcing a competition to design a label. Palestine Brewery Ltd. had run a similar competition in 1935, from which its Eagle logo emerged.

A hopped malt extract dispensed with the time and equipment needed to mash barley malt. Generally, the extract is boiled before fermentation, as for normal wort, although there are ways to abbreviate that step. But saving on mashing alone can save money and time, a feature that appealed as well to some early craft breweries.

Malt extract can produce a quite acceptable beer although almost all craft beer today is full-mash.

A press report in February 1942 announced second and third prize winners but no first prize. Perhaps it wasn’t awarded.

One of the judges was Abel Pann (aka Abel Pan), whose background can be gleaned from this online bio. He immigrated to Ottoman-era Palestine in 1913 and became a well-known painter and lithographer. His work is collected by museums and galleries around the world, to this day.

The winning design was for Pioneer Beer, pictured in this 1942 ad. A red and white design depicts a covered wagon drawn by sturdy horses. It was probably meant to evoke the traditional brewery dray, as well as the idea of Jewish migration to Palestine.

A sample of the label appears below (source: the Antiques Navigator):



The label states awkwardly, “Brewed From the Finest American Malt & Hop Flavour”. Evidently the malt extract was sourced in the U.S. Some of the shipboard breweries we discussed recently (1920s-1940s) used a similar product.

A second brand of Levant Brewery was Globus – strikingly modern, isn’t it? See a 1945 advert in the Palestine Post.

Levant Brewery was acquired by Palestine Brewery Ltd. in 1947, per a 1950s economic survey of Israel.

So, this is a third local brewery we have identified in the Mandate period. The others were Palestine Brewery Ltd. and Cabeer Brewery, which also came under the control finally of the first (1942).

Note: our look at beer in Mandate Palestine is now ended, but see this coda, on the National Brewery in Netanya, Israel, 1952.

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