Somewhat alarming news about a new beer from Austria and its reception in Turkey:
Even before the bloody head of a sheep turned up on the brewery doorstep, the makers of Roj beer had reason to suspect their light, malty lager might not be to everyone's taste. There was the hate mail, a virulent torrent of insults invoking mothers, sisters, dogs, blood and "dreamers like you." There was the knock on the door of the brewer's Istanbul representative, who was taken from his house one evening in late September by Turkish security officers and interrogated till dawn. And there was the remarkably long time Turkish officials were taking to consider the request to allow Roj into their country.
Brewed in Vienna, Roj is proudly identified on its cans as "Kurdish beer." And Turkey, which fought a bloody civil war against Kurdish separatists, is a country where such an expression of ethnic identity until recently might have resulted in arrest, and apparently still carries a certain risk. "My life is in danger, I think," said the company's managing director, N. Keske, so spooked by threats he asked that his full name not be published. "This is your last warning," read the note under the sheep's head.