Brewing for Peace


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Nehmeh Mikhael, Taybeh Resident (Arabic)
David Khoury, former Taybeh Mayor (English)
Nadim Khoury, Co-Founder Taybeh Brewing Co. (English)
Maria Khoury, Public Relations Taybeh Brewing Co. (English)
Madees Khoury, Assistant Brewer and daughter of Nadim Khoury (English)

In the small village of Taybeh (population: 1,500)—the last remaining fully Christian village in the West Bank—is Palestine’s first and only microbrewery. The brewery’s story began with the promise of peace and the Oslo Accords, when Nadim Khoury and his family returned to Taybeh in 1995 after 30 years in Boston. Nearly 20 years later, the obstacles to running a successful business in Palestine have not ceased. Last year, the brewery's annual Oktoberfest was canceled and forced to relocate to a smaller location outside of a Ramallah hotel, and precarious border regulations and regional instability continue to be an obstacle. Yet, the Khoury family has created a distinctly Palestinian microbrew that they sell in the West Bank and export to Israel, Japan and Sweden. This is the story of one small town and how its microbrewery is putting a different face on resistance.

-Interview with Nehmeh Mikhael, Taybeh resident for over 80 years: “Before I begin, I must pray. In the name of the father and the son, and the holy spirit, Amen.”

-Close-up of Nehmeh’s face

-Nehmeh Mikhael: “God is who guides us and gives us good thoughts so we can speak”

-Various shots of St. George Orthodox Church in Taybeh

-Nehmeh Mikhael: “Jesus Christ, he had friends here in Taybeh. He came to Taybeh and stayed three days. He enjoyed himself. But I wish we could know the exact place where He was. Until now, I think and say, ‘God, guide me.’”

-Shot of St. George Orthodox Church, bells ringing

-Various shots of church ruins in Taybeh

-Interview with David Khoury, former Taybeh mayor: “Taybeh is ancient city, it was mentioned in the Bible by the name of Ephraim.”

-Close-up of David’s face

-David Khoury: “And it’s the only remaining Christian city in the West Bank.”

-Shot of St. George Church

-Interview with Nadim Khoury, co-founder of Taybeh Brewing Company: “Did they explain to you where you are? This is a settlement called Amona, right across from the brewery you can see it on the mountain there.”

-Shot from Taybeh overlooking the surrounding countryside

-Nadim Khoury: “And that way toward Ramallah, and more to the left toward Jerusalem. So we are in a good location where you are.”

-Various shots of flowers around the brewery

-Nadim Khoury: “It’s a beautiful village. I love it, it’s my homeland.”

-Various shots of church ruins in Taybeh

-Nadim Khoury: “Many people of Taybeh have left Taybeh because of the occupation, because of the wars.”

-Nehmeh Mikhael: “ ‘48 there was a war, I remember. ’63 there was a war, ’67 there was a war. It was all wars, this last century. Not just in Taybeh—all of Palestine.”

-Shots of signs entering the West Bank, the separation wall.

-David Khoury: “afterwards we had Oslo which was inspiring, you know were thinking about free, independent Palestine. So we were the first to take the plane and come back and invest in Palestine by opening the Taybeh brewing company, the only brewery in Palestine.”

-Various shots inside the brewery of the bottling process

-Interview with Maria Khoury, Public Relations for Taybeh Brewing Company and wife of David Khoury: “Taybeh beer is the finest micro-brewed beer in the Middle East and it’s the first micro-brewed beer in the Middle East”

-Close-up of Maria’s face

-Maria Khoury: “The brewery began on a dream, a father that wants his children not to stay abroad “

-Shots of Nadim and David Khoury with their father

-Maria Khoury: “It’s the dream of every father to have his children come back and be with him. So David Khoury, my husband, and Nadim Khoury my brother in law, were just obedient good children.”

-Shots of newspaper clippings about Taybeh

-Various shots of bottles, hops

-Nadim Khoury: “Well it started as a hobby when I was in Boston as a student, I get hooked with some friends that were brewing beer at home

-Shots of newspaper clippings about Taybeh

-Nadim Khoury: “And my father encouraged me very much to go ahead and study brewing. I used to come here with two home brew kit and make beer for them at home. And they would believe it’s magic—how could you make beer at home (laughs)?”

-Various shots of the brewing, bottling, and packaging process

-Madees Khoury, Assistant Brewer and daughter of Nadim Khoury: “Doing business in Palestine is not easy. Also being a beer company in Palestine, doing business is not easy. And then being a beer company, doing business in Palestine under occupation is even worse.

-Close-up of Madees’ face

-Madees Khoury: “I’m learning to basically to do everything in the brewery and becoming the first female, Palestinian female brewer.”

-Various shots of Madees brewing Taybeh beer

-Madees Khoury: “It’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of work. But my father and uncle and my grandfather, they put everything in the business you know and it helps me to do the same, follow their footsteps.”

-Shot of Madees packaging the bottles

-Shot of broken shards of bottle next to the machine

-Nadim Khoury: “Running a business in Palestine is not like running any business anywhere in the world, because we’re in the end of nowhere here. There is no borders, no port, no airport, you have to use other borders, we have to apply for permits”

-Shot of the West Bank countryside from the brewery

-Shot of a sign with West Bank commercial crossing points

-Shot of a Taybeh poster that says “Drink Palestinian”

-Shot of beer barrels being loaded into the truck

-Madees Khoury: “It’s like exporting two times. Exporting to Israel, and from Israel exporting to the country that you’re exporting to,”

-Shot of empty Taybeh boxes ready to be packed

-Maria Khoury: “You go the Israeli minister of economy they say ‘well but you’re Palestinian go to your Palestinian minister of economy’ you go to the Palestinian minister of economy they say “oh but we don’t control anything, the Israelis control the border”. So it’s like you’re passing the bucket and no one can help you, and you really just want to do business.”

-Shot of Madees calculating shipments

-Shot of the brewing company guestbook

-Shot of an employee rolling boxes of beer on a cart

-Nadim Khoury: “It’s not easy. Politics and making beer, they don’t mix, in our region here”

-Madees Khoury: "What happened in Egypt, what’s happening in Syria right now, it’s all affecting tourism. And that affects business, not just our business but all the Palestinian businesses as well.”

-Shot of an employee stacking boxes of Taybeh beer

-Shot of beer being boxed

-Madees Khoury: “What have I learned? That you have to be very determined, you need high hopes, you need to be aggressive (laughs). “

-Shot of Madees taking notes about today’s brew

-Shot of an employee putting stickers on bottles one by one

-Nadim Khoury: “You can make a book out of the obstacles that we have. But I’m determined to produce good quality product and to stay in business, and to show the whole world that we’re normal people.”

-Shot of an employee loading bottles onto the belt

-Maria Khoury: “You know I think we’re making beer but it’s a bigger message than that, because the message is that we just want to be normal people. All Palestinians. And we want the regular things that all people around the world have.”

-Shot of the village of Taybeh

-Madees Khoury: “Palestinians want to live a normal life like anywhere else in the world, like just go to school, make money, drink beer, go to parties, you know, have fun live life, love life."

-Nadim Khoury: “Peace will come. We have the right to live.”

-Shot of a Taybeh school bus driving away

-Nadim Khoury: “We’d like to have our country, and some day we will have it. Maybe by the Taybeh beer. “

-Shot of inside the brewery, signs and Palestinian flags

-Maria Khoury: “That’s what we hope for and that’s what we’re waiting for and my husband keeps seeing the light at the end of the tunnel because he thinks really, we will toast to peace using Taybeh beer and that makes you wake up every day and try to do a good job at making a good product.”

-Shot of Maria talking to brewery guests, a glass of beer in focus in front of her; shot of the tourist she is talking to

-Shots of bottles going down the belt

-David Khoury: “I hope to continue growing, God gives us health, I’m wishing that my children will come back and continue the legacy of the Taybeh beer in Palestine.

-Madees Khoury: “Cheers. (laughs)”