Lebanese craft beer hits Australia
By James Atkinson
The brewer behind Lebanon's only craft beer was in Australia last week to launch his range of products.
Mazen Hajjar started producing 961 Beer in Lebanon in 2006, gradually expanding production to nearly two million litres a year.
Melbourne restaurateur Joseph Abboud recently set up a new business, 961 Australia, to import the beers to Australia.
"The beer arrived on New Year's Eve and it's been listed in some of the best restaurants in Australia, which is an honour," Abboud said, at the Sydney launch event.
"I think this is a real step forward for our culture and for craft beer."
961 Beer's Mazen Hajjar (left) with local importer Joseph Abboud
Hajjar said he started the brewery because he was "fed up with macro beers".
"I really didn't want to drink fizzy, light beers anymore."
On his journey to launching the new brewery, Hazzar said he discovered that beer was invented in Lebanon in 9000 BC.
"We somehow lost this [craft] in Lebanon, and it became my mission to bring back good beer to Lebanon," he said.
Currently 961 Beer's Red Ale, Lager and Lebanese Pale Ale are available in Australia, with plans to add the full range in the future.