Israeli Beer Lovers Foaming Over Rising Brew Tax

Ale to the chief!

With the beer-less days of Passover just past and the sweltering get-me-a-cold-drink summer months up ahead, it seemed a perfect time for Israeli beer lovers to gather. And so they did − coming together at a beer festival in Jaffa recently to celebrate the art of the homeland brew, compare hops and yeast notes, talk barley − and also complain about that buzzkill of a subject: taxes.

“Now, here is a surprising fact,” begins Shachar Hertz, 37, owner of “Beer and Beyond,” a company dedicated to promoting beer consumption in Israel that co-sponsored the event, together with a local bartending school. “Israel is, after Finland, the biggest per capita consumer of…” But, alas, no, he shakes his head, looking around the underground parking lot-turned-beer-cellar and festival venue. “Beer,” despite Hertz’s best efforts, is not the next word to roll of his tongue. It’s “vodka” − thanks in no small part to the Russian immigration of the past decades, and with some help from Tel Aviv bartenders who have turned late night vodka chasers into the must-have giveaway item of any self respecting bar.

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