Turkish brewer seeks foothold in Germany

A photograph hanging in Bunyamin Turksoy’s corner office shows the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, with a broad smile on his face — and a glass of cloudy white Raki liquor in his hand. It’s inspiration for Turksoy, a German-Turkish entrepreneur who has come out with a new brand of beer called Bey. He is targeting the beer toward young Turks in Germany, betting they are German enough to enjoy a few pilsners but Turkish enough to appreciate an ethnic brand. “You rarely see this picture of Ataturk, because he’s drinking,” Turksoy said in his warehouse office in Germany’s industrial Ruhr Valley. “I thought it was perfect.”

There are some 2.7 million ethnic Turks in Germany, about 3.3 percent of the population. While many of the older generation came from rural Turkey and do not drink because Islam prohibits alcohol, Turksoy sees the largely well-integrated Turkish youth in Germany as an untapped market. Bey’s label features the Genoese Galata Tower, a landmark of Istanbul’s cosmopolitan Beyoglu district. It is also brewed according to the 16th-century Bavarian purity law mandating that beer include just malted grain, hops, yeast and water.

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