An update on Zachary’s report on how the Murree beer and the Moore maiden have bolstered the soft power of Pakistan. (http://www.brownpundits.com/2012/06/18/pakistani-beer-daughter-of-bruce-willis-demi-moore-arrested-for-underage-drinking/)
The very good news: “Demi Moore and Bruce Willis’ daughter gave us multi-million dollars worth of publicity by default. We plan to go to the United States and make a queue to hug both the daughter and the mother,” Sabih ur Rehman, special assistant to the chief executive, joked with Reuters. Relying on word of mouth and an influx of thirsty diplomats and foreign investors, annual alcohol sales have grown an average of 20 percent over the past five years, reaching $26.8 million in the 2012 financial year. The company’s stock is up 175 percent so far this year, trading at 160 rupees on November 13, far outpacing the 42 percent rise in the Karachi Stock Exchange benchmark 100-share index.
The bad news: Despite its strong sales, the company’s net profit after taxes rose a mere 1 percent year-on-year to 525 million Pakistan rupees for the year ended June 30, due to an increase in alcohol taxes and rising labour costs.
The ugly news: Murree Brewery’s chief executive, Isphanyar Bhandara, lives in constant fear that authorities will shut down alcohol production at any moment as Pakistan drifts towards a more conservative interpretation of Islam.
“Pakistan is moving more and more to the right. That is not good for Pakistan and not good for us,” said the 39-year-old executive at his office in Rawalpindi, a military city just outside the capital, Islamabad. “Each day we are allowed to survive, that is a blessing.”
The Ripley’s believe it or not news: The brewery, which employs 1,100 people, is located within the headquarters of the Pakistani Army and across the street from the residences of the country’s top military commanders, making it arguably the most protected brewery in the world.
The silver lining news: To ensure survival, it has turned to a European brewery to produce its beer for overseas consumption due to a government ban on alcohol exports, which was eased just recently.
The minorities prospering in Pak (alternatively, feminists will be mad) news: Murree Brewery also said it has lined up distributors in Texas, Dubai and Denmark to market and sell its lager under franchise agreements, and is looking for partners in Britain and other European countries. “We are virgins and we are looking for husbands,” said Bhandara, whose family is from the country’s non-Muslim Parsi minority.
The Murree magic is a closely guarded secret because NRPs will not be a loyal clientele (Zachary was not aware until recently of this jewel of/from Pak). I am not very fond of beer but let us boost Murree beer sales if it is available at your local stores (I am boycotting anything labeled Kingfisher but that is a different story).