• , Meadan Brewing Ltd ©
  • , Meadan Brewing Ltd ©
  • , Meadan Brewing Ltd ©
  • , Meadan Brewing Ltd ©
Jewish Social Action

He wouldn't let his disease get in the way of his passion. With our help, he brought gluten-free beer to Israel.

Meadan Craft Brewing made use of The Jewish Agency for Israel's Small Business Loan Funds to create a unique, gluten-free brewery in a small town in Israel's north.

Bryan Meadan is in the process of revolutionizing the world of beer with cutting edge, gluten-free brews. And with the aid of a business loan from The Jewish Agency for Israel, Meadan’s dream is becoming a reality as he brings his brand to Kosher for Passover, gluten-intolerant and general beer enthusiast drinkers alike.

After being born in Montreal and growing up in LA, Meadan made Aliyah to Israel through The Jewish Agency some 30 years ago. Along the way, the 53-year-old father of four earned an undergraduate degree from Haifa University, a master’s degree in sociology and anthropology from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and worked in web development for over 20 years.

But Meadan’s current life trajectory started 10 years ago when he was diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that is exacerbated by the consumption of gluten products, which meant no bread, no wheat and no beer.

As an avid drinker, Meadan started working on his own gluten-free beers at home two years later. He continued experimenting and improving his brewing skills before deciding to launch the Karmiel-based Meadan Craft Brewing in 2015, to share his creations with those in the market for flavorsome beer - gluten-free and general drinkers alike.

“You can make beer that is very, very tasty and gluten-free, it’s just a matter of wanting to make a beer like that,” says Meadan. “There are already people that come and buy our beer just because they like it, not because they need to drink gluten-free beer, so that’s a wonderful thing. Not to mention that the beer is accessible to people who want to keep Kosher for Passover – the fact that the beer happens to be gluten-free is just an added advantage.”

But reaching Meadan Craft Brewing’s current state of success – the brewery sold 40,000 bottles of beer for Passover last year and is expecting increase sales triple fold next spring – wasn’t without its fair share of challenges.

In order to make the brewery become a reality, Meadan turned to The Jewish Agency for a small business loan in 2014. The Small Business Loan Funds of The Jewish Agency assist entrepreneurs and business owners in Israel to open or expand their businesses, through loans with highly attractive conditions. The Jewish Agency acts as a partial guarantor for the loans, to support those businesses that otherwise would have a difficult time qualifying for loans or presenting the necessary collateral for them.

The loans are given both on a geographic basis covering Jerusalem, the Negev and the Galilee areas, and on a social basis with funds for new immigrants to Israel; members of the Ethiopian-Israeli community; the ultra-Orthodox population; and the Arab-Israeli population.

In his case, Meadan received his loan through the Partnership2Gether program run by The Jewish Agency for Israel, which pairs Jewish communities abroad with Israeli counterparts. Meadan was able to secure a 300,000 shekel loan from the partnership between the Karmiel-Misgav area and the Jewish Community of Greater Pittsburgh.

“The loan came at a critical time in terms of building the brewery,” Meadan explains. “We really needed an automatic bottling system in order to keep up with our sales requests and the loan basically saved us and kept us afloat.”

The brewery currently sells four different types of beers: buckwheat, chickpea and two versions of a date beer (mild and bitter), and Meadan says he personally prefers the buckwheat and bitter date beers.

“They’re the cheapest gluten-free beers I can get,” he adds with a laugh, but he also notes the brewery’s place in Israel’s craft brewery world – a community he says he is proud to be a part of. “The community of craft brewing, at least in Israel, is very tight and very cooperative, and people are very helpful.

So what’s next up for Meadan Craft Brewing?

They are currently the process of locking up investors to help them expand their reach to a global market. Notably, the company is in the midst of an INDIEGOGO campaign attempting to raise $25,000 to help them bring their beers to the US market.

“I want anyone around the world with gluten insensitivities or are restricted in their diets by gluten to be able to find our beer and drink it,” Meadan asserts. “Hopefully we’ll be able to grow every year.”

24 Jul 2016 / 18 Tamuz 5776 0
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