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Palestine’s all-Christian town hosts Oktoberfest, boosts beer brewery business

The sleepy West Bank town of Taybeh, 20 miles north of Jerusalem, gets ready to host its annual beer festival this week - its population of 2,000 is expected to swell as people travel in to join the celebration.

Taybeh, the only all-Christian Palestinian community in the West Bank, is also home to Palestine’s only brewery, the Taybeh brewing company.

The brewery is run by father-daughter team Nadim and Madees Khoury. “We are running this business against all odds,” says the father and founder of the business, Businessweek reported.

After years of financial woes, today, the brewery returns a decent profit and is expanding to meet growing demand.

The Palestinian insurrection of the early 2000’s, known as the second Intifada, nearly ended the business.

The West Bank was plunged into five years of chaos and the brewery’s output fell by 90 percent due to the dire economic situation in the area.

Since then the brewery has maintained steady growth, production has gone up 25 percent in the past two years alone , the Oktoberfest festival will no doubt boost sales further.

Sales in the brewery’s home market are rising in accordance with sales in Jewish territories.

Taybeh is surrounded by Muslim towns, so the Khoury family have added non-alcoholic beer to their lineup in an effort to access this demographic.

The Oktoberfest celebration, slated for October 6th and 7th, will see visitors entertained by traditional dabkeh (folk) musicians and local hip-hop groups who will feature alongside the traditional brass bands, according to TIME magazine online.

Taybeh’s beer festival, which was established in 2005, takes place in a location rich in history.

The town, which was founded 5000 years ago, has been mentioned in the Hebrew bible and was visited by Jesus and his disciples.

Initially called Ephraim, in the late 12th century Islamic ruler Salaheddin visited the town and found its people very hospitable, calling them “taybeen” or “good and kind”in Arabic.

Since that day Biblical Ephraim took the modern name "Taybeh," according to the Jerusalem Post.

The Taybeh Oktoberfest aims to promote the beer making industry in the village, boosting sales of Taybeh’s only brewery and treating visitors to a fun-filled festival.