The “Beer Man”
BY: EZRA RABINOWITZ
If you’ve been to the Mahane Yehuda Market, you should know by now that it’s one of the more exciting places in Jerusalem. Besides just being a produce market filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, it also has a rich offering of different food stalls, restaurants, and bars. At night, the produce stalls shut down, and the place becomes a lively nightlife hub, teeming with life, music, smells and good vibes.
In 2014 the local craft beer industry changed with the establishment of “BeerBaazar”. This small stand in the Carmel market became known very quickly for its massive variety of Israeli craft beers and delicious finger-licking’ food. We decided to sit down with Avi Moskowitz, the owner, to try and understand what the place is all about.
What’s the story behind the “BeerBazaar”? Who opened the “BeerBazaar”, why and when?
“BeerBazaar” opened in 2013 by two friends with a passion for craft beer that wanted to provide a platform for Israeli craft beer, a new concept way back then. The first branch opened in the Carmel Market, and after more then a year, another TLV branch opened just a block away. In 2014 a Jerusalem branch opened its doors, in the Mahane Yehuda market, and today we have 5 locations and a brewery. The story of “BeerBazaar” has many aspects, from the original desire to create a platform for the Israeli craft beer industry to opening our craft brewery, where we make our six house beers (and counting). We try to provide a reliable home to all Israeli craft beers with the objective of helping the industry continue its expansion.
Why do you serve only Israeli Beers?
The Israeli craft beer industry is one that deserves its own platform. It also plays a vital role in the local economy. We want to connect the amazing and courageous brewers that want to create a stable craft beer industry in Israel to beer lovers. Best. Job. Ever. After all, 100 Israeli beers deserve a stage of their own to shine.
What makes the “BeerBazaar” special?
So many things. The market element, we try to maintain an authentic Israeli vibe and we try to locate our branches in market areas. We serve our food with market ingredients, and there is something so unique and irreplaceable about sipping a unique beer in an ancient yet vibrant market.
What do you love about the Mahane Yehuda Market?
It’s a very friendly place, so alive, it beats like a heart. I loved the market way before “BeerBazaar” opened and am proud to be a part of such an important and central place in Jerusalem.
What was the biggest challenge with the place?
The most significant challenge we face is educating about Israeli craft beer. That is a real passion of ours, spreading the message and love of beer. Beer brings people together, which makes our job easy, but the challenge is relaying the importance of this industry. Most Israelis don’t know what hops are and most people don’t see the difference between a lager and an ale. We strive to provide a once in a lifetime experience for every person that walks into the store, and we’d especially like to wow people with fresh and exciting facts about our beers and beer in general.
What was something funny that happened regarding “BeerBazaar”?
We have lots of laughs, almost everything about us ignites a chuckle. Our beers are hilarious, the names and the characters that define them. Humor is an essential part of having an unforgettable night out, so we make sure to keep things light. Having Quentin Tarantino seek us for our pastrami sandwich out was particularly memorable – enough for us to name the sandwich after him.
What makes “BeerBazaar” different than other joints in the market?
The answer is who, what and why. The who- our staff is well trained, beer educated and excited about spreading the message. Every new hire must graduate from the “BeerBazaar” University. What- we provide a unique experience that is defined not just as just a night out. The why- we are not a bar, not a joint. We are the home of Israeli craft beers and we work hard to stand out amongst the market nightlife with quality service, delicious food, and fresh craft beer.
What are the plans down the road?
Keep making new and exciting beers. Open new locations and expand our offerings. We are currently working on our seventh house beer, stay tuned:)