During the war between Lebanon and Israel in 2006, the Lebanese brewer Mazen Hajjar was brewing beer. Hajjar is the founder of 961 Beer, one of the few Lebanese beers.
This beer is not only a success in Lebanon but in other countries as well, despite that Hajjar did not brew his whole life.
First, he was a war photographer. Next, he became an investment banker. After that, he started his own low-cost airline, after planning to buy a piece of land and retiring while making wine.
However, he chose to craft beer, specifically 961 Beer. This is how Hajjar opened one of the first craft breweries in the Middle East.
He started exporting to 26 countries which one of them was Australia. The Lebanese brewer decided to explore his chance Down Under.
Eventually, he found a Lebanese partner named Joseph Abboud and both of them started exploring the beer market in Australia.
Surprisingly enough, it needed to catch up. Hajjar and Abboud founded a brewery and produced a beer called Hawkers (vendors).
The name was suggested by Abboud who said that, when Lebanese first came to Australia, they worked as street hawkers.
Both the brewery and the beer had national success. The brewery of Hawkers uses sophisticated and modern technology to produce beer. It can produce 6.5 million liters a year as well as package 6,000 bottles an hour.
The way Hajjar works is all about providing quality beer, that’s why Hawkers Beer has won 52 awards.
Also, it took part in the prestigious International Beer Challenge in London where Hawkers Beer was named Supreme Champion Brewer for 2006.
An eco-friendly beer
As much as Hajjar is obsessed with beer, he is all about supporting the environment. The beer does not contain chemicals.
Also, the factory has the largest solar rooftop energy system on a brewery in Melbourne. In addition to that, 90% of the brewery’s waste is recycled.