Alexander Beer (Courtesy) (Courtesy)
Alexander Beer

Israel’s Alexander Brewery, run by a former air force pilot, beat out thousands of beers from 42 countries to bring home a medal.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

Israel has a booming craft beer industry with microbreweries popping up all over the country.

Like many other Israeli exports, brews from the Holy Land are winning awards across the globe.

The Alexander Brewery is a pioneer in the field, founded in 2008 in Emek Hefer just north of the city of Netanya near the Alexander River.

Last month their Alexander Black beer took another international prize, winning the silver medal at the prestigious European Beer Star competition, the eighth medal for the brewery.

The same brew has taken medals in the European Beer Star in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018 — and a Gold Award in the U.S.-based World Beer Cup in 2014.

Ori Sagy, CEO of Alexander, said that other Israeli beers have entered the European Beer Star competition through the years, but no other Israeli beers won medals this year.

“To use an analogy with sports,” Sagy added, “only the best compete, only the very best win medals, and very few win medals more than once. This competition draws the best breweries in the world. Beers are judged by professionals in a pure blind tasting, and there are only three winners in each style.”

“I simply have to tell myself not to get jaded or complacent,” said Doug Greener, the “beer writer” for the Jerusalem Post whose blog “Israel Brews and Views” stays on top of what’s brewing in the industry.

Greener pointed out that that 2,036 beers from 42 countries entered this year’s European Beer Star competition.

“Because of the coronavirus, there were no live events. A 72-member judging panel, made up of master brewers, beer sommeliers and European beer connoisseurs, blind-tasted all the beers over two-and-a-half days, and awarded gold, silver and bronze medals for 70 different beer styles,” Greener reported, offering his congratulations to Ori Sagy and Alexander Beer “for having the ambition and daring to enter international contests, and the excellent beers for winning them.”

Sagy is a former Israel Air Force pilot who’s been involved with beer as a hobby for about 30 years and started brewing on his own at home. After retiring from the air force, he decided to turn his hobby into a profession.

Before opening Alexander, Sagy studied beer production technology at Chicago’s Siebel Institute of Technology and returned home to turn out successful beers. He now employs about 13 people in production, packaging and administration, all of whom helped create Alexander’s award-winning Israeli beer.

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