Monday, 13 April 2020

The Murree Brewery, Indian subcontinent's oldest catering to the British in India

Colonial India, oldest beer company established by the Britishrastgar-co.com
The Ruins of the Murree Brewery in Murree.
Murree Brewery company, the largest and oldest producer of alcoholic products including non-alcoholic beverages in  Pakistan is at Murree, and in 2015, it had produced 10 million liters of beer, along with hundreds of tons of single malt whisky, vodka and brandy.  The British Crown  after 1857-58  big rebellion against the atrocities of the East India Company,  took over the  administration and formally extended its sovereignty over India, through  careful planning  and dishonest means. Their dubious stratagems  doctrine of lapse and subsidiary alliance  helped  them a lot. They were much more than a mouse trap from which escape was impossible.  Thus a structured  and well-designed administration commenced in the Punjab  after the annexation of the kingdom  of Punjab  on 29 March 1849 from Sikh rule, following the conclusion of the Second Anglo-Sikh War. Yet another gain for the British was as part of The Last Treaty of Lahore signed, officially, the Koh-i-Noor  diamond  was transferred to  Queen Victoria and the Maharajah's other assets to the company.  So was the world famous Timur ruby - the largest spinel gemstone to the queen. The then ruler was  the Maharajah of Lahore  Ranjit Singh. 
Murree  brewery, British India flicker.com 
Above image:  Brewery at Murree from the 'Bellew Collection: Photograph album of Surgeon-General Henry Walter Bellew' taken by John Burke in the 1860s. Located  in the foothills of the Himalayas north-east of Islamabad of Pakistan, during the colonial period Murree was a hill station established  in 1851. The hill-station at Murree (about 6000 feet from msl) was established by the British in 1851. Then it was  the second largest hill-station  after the summer Presidency Capital at Simla and the summer residence of the local Government in the Punjab until 1876 - in the early period of the Raj as well. The Murree Brewery Company (established in 1860)  became the largest employer in the region and  got a name in the beer industry.  Photo taken from the muddy road leading up to the brewery. (https://www.flickr.com.....................

Murree Brewery company, Murree was  founded  in 1860  with the main purpose of meeting  the beer requirements of British personnel at Ghora Gali in the Pir Panjal area near the resort place of Murree, a beautiful hill station in Pakistan. Considered as the  oldest Brewery  in the subcontinent, it was  successfully managed by  none other than Edward Dyer and his family. Thus this brewery  owes its origin to two  English families.  Edward Dyer  who was the first General Manager of the company. Later he founded  Dyer Meaken breweries.   The other one is Edward Whymper, a member of this family was the first person to climb Matterhorn mountain in 1865.
Edward happened to be  the father of Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre fame (April 13, 1919) Brig. Gen. Reginald Dyer.  More than 1000 innocent people were severely injured and about 400 innocent people, including women and children were shot dead without any prior warning by Gen. Dyer.He was let out with minor punishment by the British Government.   
Murree brewery, express tribune com 
Murreey Brewery  was the largest one  then accounting for 37% of total production in the Indian subcontinent.  The  company beer was awarded a silver medal at the World fair in Brussels in 1867  and in  1876 itself  it  gained a distinguished name in the beer industry and got an award in excellence in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Further, it also took the credit of being the first commercial venture listed on the Calcutta stock exchange. 
Its commercial operation in the subcontinent was a successful one and its patronage expanded far and wide as years went by.  To meet additional demand in  the 1880s,   the company established a brewery in Rawalpindi and a distillery in Quetta.  In the  1920s owing to water shortage problem, the brewing was shifted to Quetta, however, malting continued at Murree. This brewery,  faced an unfortunate situation in 1947 - destruction due to fire  by the rioting mob during the partition of India in 1947.
Murree Brewery,Pakistan  travelthehimalayas.com
As for the 
 brewery in Quetta, it  was also destroyed in the 1935 Quetta earthquake.  In the 1940s the controlling shares of the company were held by a Hindu family Peshotan Bhandara. and after Partition of India in August 1947, the Murree Brewery  came under their family's  management. In the later periods the company  faced several upheavals on account of Pakistan's volatile and unstable political situation  and in 2017 the company's assets were worth  US$77 million.
In the earliest colonial rule, the British had a tough time in the tropical subcontinent literally handicapped by non availability of beer. The British beer did not have long shelf life and because of long duration of sea journey, the brew  lost the flavor and turned  sour enough to be unfit for consumption. The establishment of Murree Brewery was a great blessing for the British.  The beer made by the Murree company  was  assertively choppy with aromas of stone fruit. As rich as a bitter but just more.   In the year 1892, out of 4,831,127 gallons of beer  produced in India, 2,748,365 gallons were purchased by commissariat mainly for the British soldiers working in the dark jungles, plains and high hills across the land.  The cool and highly
tipsy British bobwatchmojo.com
hopped beer helped  subdue their stressed life and pangs of separation from their families in England and rest was left for consumption by the civilian population.

https://travelthehimalayas.com/kiki/2018/9/9/the-murree-brewery
https://www.flickr.com/photos/13305961@N00/3963568597
http://indiabrew.blogspot.in/2007/04/history-of-beer-in-india.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_in_India  
Traditional beer vats in Meghalaya  www.quora.com Edward Dyer's