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The Mideast’s New Microbrewers


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Keslie Lantz



Food travel has always been a popular trend among globetrotters, as it allows them to explore different cultures and cuisines. One aspect of food travel that has gained significant traction in recent years is the exploration of local craft beer scenes. The Middle East, known for its rich culinary traditions and vibrant food markets, has also witnessed a surge in the establishment of microbreweries, tapping into the global craft beer movement.


Microbreweries, also known as craft breweries, are small-scale breweries that produce limited quantities of beer with a focus on quality and flavor. These breweries apply traditional brewing techniques while also experimenting with innovative ingredients and brewing styles. The rise of microbreweries in the Middle East can be attributed to the evolving tastes and preferences of consumers, who are increasingly seeking unique and diverse beer options.


This article delves into the growth of microbreweries in the Middle East and explores the challenges, brewing traditions, popularity among younger consumers, government regulations, success stories, collaborations, and craft beer festivals in the region. Through an in-depth analysis of the food travel experience and SEO optimization, we aim to provide a comprehensive guide for beer enthusiasts and travelers alike.


The Rise of Microbreweries in the Middle East

The Middle East, once synonymous with traditional beverage choices like tea and coffee, has experienced a remarkable transformation in its beer landscape. Over the past decade, microbreweries have been popping up across the region, offering a refreshing change to the beer-drinking culture. What was once dominated by commercial breweries and imported beer brands is now witnessing a growing trend of local, independent craft breweries.


This rise of microbreweries in the Middle East can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the increasing globalization and exposure to international beer styles have influenced consumers’ tastes and preferences. As travelers from the region explore different corners of the globe, they bring back experiences and a desire for unique flavors. This has created a demand for craft beer options that cater specifically to local palates.


Secondly, the younger generation in the Middle East has embraced the craft beer movement, seeking authenticity and a sense of community in their beverage choices. Craft breweries not only offer a wide range of beer styles but also act as social gathering spaces, hosting events, and fostering a sense of camaraderie among beer enthusiasts. This appeal to the younger demographic has played a significant role in fueling the growth of microbreweries in the region.


Additionally, the Middle East’s rich cultural heritage and culinary traditions have also played a part in the rise of microbreweries. With a focus on using local ingredients and incorporating regional flavors, craft brewers in the Middle East are creating beers that showcase the unique flavors and aromas of the region. This fusion of traditional brewing techniques and local influences has garnered attention both locally and internationally, adding to the allure of the Middle East’s craft beer scene.


Furthermore, the rise of microbreweries in the Middle East has been aided by a more open and receptive regulatory environment. In the past, strict regulations and licensing requirements posed significant barriers to entry for aspiring craft brewers. However, in recent years, governments in the region have recognized the potential economic benefits of the craft beer industry and have worked towards easing regulations and creating more favorable conditions for microbreweries to thrive.


Overall, the rise of microbreweries in the Middle East reflects the shifting preferences and evolving tastes of consumers in the region. It symbolizes a desire for more diverse and authentic beer options that celebrate local flavors and traditions. As the craft beer revolution takes hold, the Middle East continues to contribute its own unique and exciting chapter to the global craft beer movement.


Challenges Faced by Microbrewers in the Region

While the growth of microbreweries in the Middle East is undoubtedly exciting, it is not without its challenges. Microbrewers in the region face a unique set of obstacles that can hinder their success and growth. Understanding these challenges is crucial for aspiring brewers and industry enthusiasts alike. Let’s explore some of the key challenges faced by microbrewers in the Middle East.


Firstly, navigating through the complex regulatory landscape can be a significant challenge for microbreweries. Each country in the Middle East has its own set of rules and regulations regarding the production, distribution, and sale of alcohol. Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits can be a time-consuming and bureaucratic process. Microbrewers need to dedicate significant resources and expertise to ensure they are compliant with all legal requirements.


Secondly, access to quality ingredients and equipment is another challenge faced by microbrewers in the region. While the Middle East is known for its rich agricultural heritage, the availability of specialty malts, hops, and yeast strains required for brewing can be limited. Importing ingredients can be costly and time-consuming, impacting the overall profitability of microbreweries. Additionally, acquiring high-quality brewing equipment that meets international standards can also pose a financial challenge for many small-scale brewers.


Furthermore, building brand awareness and competing with established commercial breweries and imported beer brands is a constant struggle for microbrewers. Craft beer is still a relatively niche market in the Middle East, and educating consumers about the unique characteristics and flavors of craft beer can be a daunting task. Microbrewers need to invest in marketing and promotional efforts to differentiate themselves from mainstream beer options and attract a loyal customer base.


In addition, logistics and distribution present significant challenges for microbrewers in the region. While local breweries may have enthusiastic customers, establishing a reliable and cost-effective distribution network can be difficult. Microbrewers often face logistical hurdles in getting their products to customers, especially when competing with larger breweries and their established distribution networks. This can limit their market reach and growth potential.


Lastly, cultural and societal perceptions surrounding alcohol consumption can pose challenges for microbrewers in the Middle East. Alcohol is subject to varying degrees of social and religious restrictions across the region, and there can be cultural stigmas associated with its consumption. Microbrewers must be mindful of these sensitivities and work towards fostering a responsible and inclusive drinking culture that respects local customs.


Despite these challenges, microbrewers in the Middle East continue to overcome obstacles with resilience and creativity. Their dedication to quality, innovation, and community-building has allowed them to carve their own space in the region’s beer industry, offering consumers a unique and exciting beer experience.


Brewing Traditions and Innovations

The Middle East is renowned for its rich culinary traditions, and brewing is no exception. While beer may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the region’s gastronomic offerings, the Middle East has a long history of brewing, dating back thousands of years. Understanding the brewing traditions of the region helps shed light on the unique flavors and techniques that microbreweries are embracing today.


One of the region’s ancient brewing traditions is found in Egypt, where evidence of beer production dates back to around 3400 BCE. Ancient Egyptians brewed beer using barley, which was fermented and flavored with a variety of ingredients like dates, honey, and spices. These beers were often thick and highly nutritious, serving not only as a beverage but also as a staple food. Microbreweries in the region are now reviving this historical tradition by incorporating local ingredients and flavors into their brews.


Another important brewing tradition in the Middle East is the production of arak, a traditional anise-flavored alcoholic drink. Arak is popular in Lebanon, Syria, and other neighboring countries. It is typically made through a two-step distillation process that involves fermenting grapes or other fruits and then redistilling the resulting alcohol vapor with anise seeds. While not a beer, the techniques used in arak production highlight the region’s expertise in fermentation and distillation.


Microbreweries in the Middle East are also embracing innovative brewing techniques and flavor profiles, combining traditional methods with modern experimentation. Some local brewers are known for their barrel-aged beers, where the beer is stored in barrels or casks previously used for various spirits, such as whiskey or wine. This imparts unique flavors and aromas to the beer, giving it a distinct character.


Additionally, the use of local ingredients and spices is a hallmark of brewing innovation in the region. Microbreweries are incorporating traditional Middle Eastern flavors like saffron, cardamom, dates, and even rose petals into their brews. This experimentation with flavors not only pays homage to the region’s culinary heritage but also creates unique and exciting taste experiences for consumers.


Furthermore, sustainability and environmental consciousness are also driving brewing innovations in the Middle East. Craft breweries are increasingly adopting environmentally friendly practices such as water conservation, energy efficiency, and the use of locally sourced ingredients to reduce their carbon footprint. This commitment to sustainability aligns with the region’s growing interest in responsible and ethical consumption.


Overall, the brewing traditions of the Middle East, combined with modern innovations, contribute to the diverse and dynamic craft beer scene in the region. Microbreweries are not only drawing inspiration from their rich heritage but also pushing the boundaries of what beer can be, elevating the craft and enticing beer enthusiasts across the globe.


The Popularity of Craft Beer among Younger Consumers

Craft beer has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, and this trend is particularly evident among younger consumers in the Middle East. The younger generation, known for their adventurous palates and desire for unique experiences, has embraced the craft beer movement with open arms. Let’s explore why craft beer has captivated the hearts (and taste buds) of younger consumers in the region.


First and foremost, craft beer offers a departure from the mainstream, commercial beer options that have long dominated the market. Younger consumers are seeking authenticity, quality, and a sense of discovery in their beverage choices. Craft breweries, with their focus on small-batch production and hands-on brewing techniques, offer an alternative to mass-produced beers. The attention to detail and the wide variety of flavors and styles available in craft beer appeal to the adventurous tastes of the younger generation.


In addition to the unique flavors, craft beer also represents a cultural shift towards supporting local businesses and fostering a sense of community. Younger consumers are increasingly conscious of their purchasing decisions and are keen on supporting independent, locally-owned businesses. Craft breweries, often small-scale and community-driven, fit perfectly into this ethos. By choosing craft beer, younger consumers feel a stronger connection to the brewers and the local economy, enhancing their overall experience.


Furthermore, craft beer has become a social activity, bringing people together to explore and appreciate the nuances of different beer styles. Microbreweries often serve as lively gathering places, fostering a sense of camaraderie among like-minded beer enthusiasts. Younger consumers see craft beer as more than just a beverage – it’s an experience. They relish in the opportunity to attend brewery tours, participate in beer tastings, and engage in conversations with the passionate brewers themselves.


The rise of social media and online communities has also contributed to the popularity of craft beer among younger consumers. Beer enthusiasts can connect and share their experiences through platforms like Instagram, Facebook groups, and beer rating websites. This digital connectivity allows for the exchange of recommendations, discoveries, and even collaborations between breweries and consumers. The online beer community has helped to create a sense of excitement and engagement around craft beer, further fueling its popularity among younger generations.


Moreover, the younger consumers in the Middle East are embracing craft beer as part of their exploration of global cultures and tastes. As they travel and encounter craft beer scenes in other parts of the world, they bring back their experiences and the desire to replicate them at home. Craft breweries in the region have responded by incorporating international brewing styles and collaborating with renowned brewers from around the world, offering a taste of the global craft beer movement right at their doorstep.


Overall, the popularity of craft beer among younger consumers in the Middle East can be attributed to its authenticity, variety, community involvement, and cultural exploration. As this demographic continues to seek out new experiences and flavors, craft beer represents an exciting and ever-evolving option that caters to their discerning tastes and desire for connection.


Government Regulations and Market Opportunities

The craft beer industry in the Middle East operates within a framework of government regulations and policies that vary from country to country. While regulations surrounding alcohol production and consumption can be strict in some regions, there are also significant market opportunities emerging for craft breweries. Understanding the government landscape and market dynamics is crucial for microbreweries seeking to navigate the industry in the Middle East.


Government regulations surrounding alcohol production and distribution are an important consideration for microbreweries in the region. Some countries in the Middle East have historically had strict regulations on alcohol, including licensing requirements, limitations on advertising and marketing, and restrictions on where alcohol can be sold and consumed. These regulations can pose challenges for microbreweries, particularly when it comes to obtaining the necessary permits and licenses to operate legally.


However, it is important to note that there has been a shifting regulatory environment in recent years, with governments in certain countries recognizing the potential economic benefits of the craft beer industry. They have started implementing reforms to support the growth of microbreweries by streamlining licensing processes, reducing restrictions, and creating more favorable conditions for business operations.


These regulatory changes have opened up market opportunities for craft breweries in the Middle East. As consumer preferences shift towards locally produced and unique beverages, there is a growing demand for craft beer. This demand, coupled with the relaxing of regulations, has created a favorable climate for microbreweries to flourish.


In addition, the Middle East’s large and diverse population, coupled with a growing tourism industry, presents significant market opportunities for craft breweries. With an increasing number of international visitors and a rising interest in culinary experiences, craft breweries can tap into this market and offer unique beer options that cater to both locals and tourists. Establishing a strong brand presence and fostering relationships with local venues, such as restaurants, hotels, and bars, can help microbreweries gain visibility and expand their customer base.


Furthermore, with the Middle East being home to a young and increasingly affluent population, there is a receptive market for craft beer among millennials and the emerging middle class. These consumers are seeking differentiated products and are willing to spend more on quality, artisanal beverages. Craft breweries that can capture the attention and loyalty of these consumers have the potential to thrive in the region’s beer market.


Collaborations and partnerships within the industry can also enhance market opportunities for microbreweries. By collaborating with local restaurants, bars, and food festivals, craft breweries can increase their visibility and reach a wider audience. Additionally, forming networks and joining industry associations can provide valuable support, knowledge exchange, and advocacy for microbreweries in the region.


While government regulations continue to play a significant role in the craft beer industry in the Middle East, the evolving landscape presents numerous opportunities for growth and success. Craft breweries that navigate the regulatory environment effectively and seize market opportunities are well-positioned to thrive in the region’s burgeoning craft beer scene.


Success Stories: Profiles of Leading Microbreweries

The rise of microbreweries in the Middle East has seen the emergence of several successful players in the craft beer industry. These breweries have managed to carve out a niche for themselves, creating innovative and high-quality brews that have gained recognition both domestically and internationally. Let’s take a closer look at some of the leading microbreweries in the region and their success stories.

Besides Brewing Company, Kuwait

Besides Brewing Company, located in Kuwait, has quickly gained a reputation for its commitment to quality and innovation. Founded by a group of friends passionate about brewing, Besides Brewing has showcased the potential of the craft beer scene in Kuwait. They have successfully integrated local flavors and ingredients into their brews, giving them a distinct Middle Eastern twist. Besides Brewing Company has gained recognition at regional beer festivals and has expanded its reach beyond Kuwait, exporting their beers to neighboring countries.

Beirut Beer Project, Lebanon

The Beirut Beer Project in Lebanon has become a symbol of resilience and creativity. Founded by a group of young entrepreneurs, this microbrewery has overcome numerous challenges to establish itself as a key player in Lebanon’s craft beer scene. The Beirut Beer Project focuses on experimentation and collaboration, often partnering with local and international artists, chefs, and brewers to create unique flavors. Their dedication to quality and community has garnered them a dedicated following and praise from beer enthusiasts both in Lebanon and abroad.

Jordan River Brewing Company, Jordan

Jordan River Brewing Company, located in Amman, Jordan, has made its mark on the craft beer landscape in the region. With a commitment to sustainability and using locally sourced ingredients, they have created a lineup of beers that reflect the flavors and qualities of the region. Jordan River Brewing Company’s passion for craftsmanship and their dedication to staying true to their roots have earned them a loyal customer base and recognition as a leading microbrewery in the Middle East.

Wadi Rum Brewing, Saudi Arabia

Wadi Rum Brewing, based in Saudi Arabia, has quickly become a standout in the country’s growing craft beer scene. Despite the challenging regulatory environment surrounding alcohol in the country, Wadi Rum Brewing has managed to create a range of bold and flavorful brews that cater to beer enthusiasts in Saudi Arabia. Their commitment to quality and their innovative approach to brewing have earned them accolades within the industry and a growing fan base across the country.


These success stories of leading microbreweries in the Middle East highlight the resilience, creativity, and dedication of craft brewers in the region. Through their commitment to quality, innovation, and community engagement, these breweries have not only made a name for themselves but have also contributed to the growth and recognition of the craft beer industry in the Middle East.


Collaborations and Networking within the Microbrewing Community

Collaboration and networking play a vital role in the success and growth of microbreweries in the Middle East. The spirit of camaraderie and knowledge sharing within the microbrewing community have fostered a dynamic and innovative environment. Let’s explore how collaborations and networking have shaped the craft beer scene in the region.


One of the key ways microbreweries collaborate is through beer collaborations, where breweries come together to create unique and limited-edition brews. These collaborations often bring together different expertise, brewing techniques, and flavor preferences, resulting in exciting and innovative beers. Collaborative brews not only generate buzz and customer excitement but also allow breweries to learn from each other and expand their reach by tapping into each other’s loyal customer bases.


The microbrewing community in the Middle East also values knowledge-sharing and collaboration in terms of brewing techniques and ingredients. Brewers regularly connect with each other to exchange ideas, discuss brewing challenges, and share best practices. This sharing of knowledge helps elevate the quality of craft beer across the region and contribute to the growth and maturation of the industry.


Networking events and gatherings, such as industry conferences, trade shows, and beer festivals, offer valuable opportunities for brewers to connect, network, and showcase their products. These events provide a platform for breweries to gain exposure and engage with potential customers and industry professionals. Furthermore, they offer a chance for brewers to sample a wide array of beers, get inspired, and gather insights into emerging trends in the craft beer scene.


In addition to formal events, informal networking happens within the microbrewing community through regular meetups, brewer collaborations, and online forums. Social media platforms, forums, and online communities allow brewers to stay connected, exchange ideas, and support one another. This sense of community and collaboration helps foster a supportive and inspiring environment for microbreweries in the Middle East.


Collaboration and networking extend beyond the brewing community itself. Many microbreweries in the Middle East collaborate with local restaurants, chefs, and food artisans. By partnering with these culinary experts, microbreweries can create beer and food pairings, host beer dinners, and enhance the overall experience for beer enthusiasts. These collaborations not only elevate the craft beer experience but also foster cross-promotion and broaden the reach of both the breweries and the culinary establishments.


Collaborations and networking within the microbrewing community in the Middle East have played a significant role in nurturing a vibrant and innovative craft beer scene. Through collaborative brews, knowledge-sharing, and networking events, microbreweries have been able to push boundaries, create unique flavors, and collectively contribute to the growth and recognition of the craft beer industry in the region.


Craft Beer Festivals and Events in the Middle East

Craft beer festivals and events have become a prominent feature of the growing craft beer scene in the Middle East. These festivals offer an opportunity for beer enthusiasts to come together, explore a wide range of craft beers, and immerse themselves in the vibrant beer culture of the region. Let’s dive into some of the notable craft beer festivals and events in the Middle East.

Beirut Beer Festival

The Beirut Beer Festival is one of the most anticipated events in the Lebanese beer calendar. Held annually, the festival brings together a diverse selection of local and international craft breweries. Beer enthusiasts can sample a wide variety of beers and experience the vibrant atmosphere filled with live music, food stalls, and beer-related activities. The Beirut Beer Festival serves as a platform for both established and up-and-coming breweries to showcase their craftsmanship, fostering a sense of community and celebration within the craft beer industry.

Dubai Craft Beer Festival

The Dubai Craft Beer Festival is an event that showcases the growing craft beer scene in the United Arab Emirates. Craft breweries from around the world gather to offer their unique brews, allowing attendees to explore an array of flavors and styles. The festival also features live entertainment, food trucks, and educational sessions on brewing techniques, making it a holistic experience for beer enthusiasts. The Dubai Craft Beer Festival not only provides a platform for local breweries to gain exposure but also introduces attendees to international craft beer brands.

Jeddah Craft Beer Festival

The Jeddah Craft Beer Festival in Saudi Arabia is a relatively new addition to the craft beer scene in the region. Organized by local breweries and beer enthusiasts, the festival showcases a selection of craft beers from Saudi Arabia and beyond. The festival focuses on creating a family-friendly atmosphere, with live music, food vendors, and activities for all ages. The Jeddah Craft Beer Festival acts as a catalyst for the growing craft beer culture in Saudi Arabia and offers an opportunity for beer lovers to connect and celebrate the evolving craft beer scene in the country.

Amman Craft Beer Week

Amman Craft Beer Week, held in Jordan, is a week-long celebration of craft beer culture. The event features various activities such as brewery tours, beer pairings, tap takeovers, and educational sessions. It brings together local breweries, beer bars, and beer enthusiasts to promote the craft beer movement in Jordan. Amman Craft Beer Week aims to raise awareness about the quality and diversity of craft beer options available in the region and encourages collaboration and networking within the craft beer community.


These craft beer festivals and events in the Middle East not only offer a platform for breweries to showcase their craft and connect with consumers but also provide a space for beer enthusiasts to discover new flavors, learn about brewing techniques, and engage with the local craft beer community. As the craft beer scene continues to flourish in the region, these festivals will play an even greater role in nurturing a vibrant and dynamic beer culture in the Middle East.



The craft beer movement in the Middle East has seen significant growth and development in recent years, ushering in a new era of beer culture in the region. Microbreweries have emerged as key players, offering unique and high-quality brews that showcase both local flavors and international brewing techniques.


Despite the challenges of navigating government regulations, microbreweries in the Middle East have proven their resilience and creativity. They have adapted to evolving consumer preferences and leveraged market opportunities to carve out their place in the craft beer industry.


The rise of microbreweries in the Middle East has been fueled by the popularity of craft beer among younger consumers. Their desire for authenticity, variety, and unique experiences has driven the demand for craft beer and influenced the growth of the industry in the region.


Brewing traditions and innovations have played a crucial role in shaping the craft beer scene. Microbreweries in the Middle East have drawn inspiration from ancient brewing techniques while incorporating local flavors and ingredients. This fusion of tradition and innovation has resulted in exciting and diverse beer options for consumers.


Collaborations and networking have also been integral to the success of microbreweries in the Middle East. Brewery collaborations, knowledge-sharing, and participation in craft beer festivals and events have contributed to a sense of community and camaraderie within the microbrewing community.


Looking ahead, the craft beer industry in the Middle East holds tremendous potential. As government regulations continue to evolve, market opportunities will increase, creating avenues for further growth and innovation. Craft beer festivals and events will continue to provide platforms for breweries to showcase their craft, foster connections, and engage with beer enthusiasts.


In conclusion, the rise of microbreweries in the Middle East has added an exciting and vibrant dimension to the region’s culinary and travel landscape. With their dedication to quality, innovation, and community, microbreweries are reshaping the way beer is perceived and enjoyed, making the Middle East a destination for beer lovers and a beacon of the global craft beer movement.