Beer Brewing

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961 BEER: LAUNCHING A LEBANESE BREWING COMPANY

Bettina Bastian wrote this case solely to provide material for class discussion. The author does not intend to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a managerial situation. The author may have disguised certain names and other identifying information to protect confidentiality.
This publication may not be transmitted, photocopied, digitized or otherwise reproduced in any form or by any means without the permission of the copyright holder. Reproduction of this material is not covered under authorization by any reproduction rights organization. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, contact Ivey Publishing, Ivey Business School, Western
University, London, Ontario, Canada, N6G 0N1; (t) 519.661.3208; (e) cases@ivey.ca; www.iveycases.com.
Copyright © 2014, Richard Ivey School of Business Foundation

Version: 2014-07-30

“I should have stayed in my own bar and had a beer,” Mazen Hajjar thought over carrots, nuts and a mojito when listening to the boisterous mix of post-punk and Arabic classics at a popular bar in Beirut’s main nightlife quarter, Gemmayze. It was an evening in February 2009, and Hajjar, one of the founders and owners of 961 Beer — 961 is Lebanon’s country code, hence the name for the first craft brewing company in the country — tried to gather his thoughts for a strategy meeting he would have with his partners the next day. Being disappointed with the quality of local beer, he had started his own brewery from scratch in 2006. The start-up phase took place under the most adverse conditions in terms of security and economic challenges. Bombs were shattering Beirut International Airport when Hajjar went ahead and registered his company. Although the 2006 war would negatively affect the country’s entire infrastructure and paralyze much of its economy,…...

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