Drinking for Peace in the Balkans

Drinking for Peace

Drinking for Peace.

This guest post is by Christoph Baumgarten of Balkan Stories.

Drinking Makes The World A Better Place.

Drinking certainly can make the world seem brighter at times – but usually only for the people who do the drinking.

A German-Bosnian craft beer could change that. At least for the people of Mostar.

How do you get people to sit together and talk? Beer’s usually just the way to do it.

That’s what a team of young German and Bosnian entrepreneurs had in mind when they founded their startup drinkforpeace. The name says it all. Or pretty much.

Drinking for Peace

The concept of the company founded by Samir Kadunić, who fled to Germany from his native Bosnia as a child, and economist Martin Duchowski is to brew a craft beer whose profits finance peace projects in the region.

And that’s necessary, as Samir Kadunić knows: “My roots are in the region. So I know that conflicts don’t stop as soon as the fighting ceases”.

The first project to be funded is the Mostar Rock School. This music academy brings together young people regardless of their ethnicities in one of Bosnia’s most divided cities. 20 years after the war has ended, international sponsors have lost their interest in Mostar Rock School.

Donations dwindling, there are fears it might have to shut down due to lack of funding in the next few months.

Drinkforpeace could be one of the campaigns to save it. The company has pledged 10 cents per bottle sold to go to the Mostar Rock School.

Later on beer sales are scheduled to finance projects that bring together high school and university students from different ethnicities.

Bosnia’s educational system is largely segregated along ethnic and/or religious lines, so children and teenagers, grow up without ever getting in touch with people their own age with different ethnic roots.

That, however, isn’t the only thing about the project aimed at bringing people together.

The company’s team developed the recipe for their beer – the Yugoslavian Pale Ale or YU.P.A. for short – together with local craft brewers from all over Ex-Yugoslavia and the help of German beer expert Oliver Wesseloh.

Crowdsourcing is being used to raise funding.

Currently, drinkforpeace is trying to get enough starting capital together to actually start brewing and distributing YU.P.A.
The company has launched a crowdfunding project on startnext.com that runs through the end of January.

According to drinkforpeace, it will take at least 10.000 Euros to start brewing in Germany. This is how much producing 15.000 bottles of YU.P.A. would cost – which the company says is the lower limit for economically feasible production.

Additionally, Bosnian, Serbian and Kosovar micro breweries will produce the brand for their respective regional markets.

Drinking for Peace

So in spite of it being brewed after the same recipe in each brewery, it just might taste a bit different in each country, says drinkforpeace co-founder Martin Duchowski: “We use regional hops that give the beer its unique taste.”

Production is set to start next month (February).

The first bottles will be sold in March.

Donors will be the first ones to get a taste of YU.P.A.

Want more information?

By Chris Baumgarten, balkanstories.net
Title photo: Lena Eberhardt, drinkforpeace

And if you are a craft brewer, heres a forum from the Region

Drinking for Peace

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