Saudi Arabia Opens Its First Alcohol Store

by Ohepo Ohepo

Saudi Arabia is set to open its first alcohol shop in over 70 years, specifically catering to non-Muslim expatriates with diplomatic status in Riyadh. This decision marks a significant shift from longstanding prohibitions and is part of the kingdom’s broader “Vision 2030” reforms aimed at modernizing and liberalizing Saudi society under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The store will be situated in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter and is designed to serve diplomatic personnel who traditionally imported alcohol in diplomatic pouches that are exempt from inspection. Saudi officials have stated that the establishment of the shop is an effort to curb the illegal alcohol trade within the kingdom.

Key restrictions for the store include:
– Access will be limited to registered and government-cleared diplomats.
– Patrons must be over 21 and dressed appropriately.
– Alcohol purchases cannot be made through proxies like drivers.
– There will be a monthly limit set at 240 “points,” with different types of alcohol assigned varying point values (e.g., one liter of spirits equals six points).

This move also aims to regulate the diplomatic importation of alcohol more strictly by introducing a new regulatory framework that permits diplomats to bring in specified quantities of alcohol, addressing concerns over the uncontrolled exchange of alcoholic beverages.

While this change is notable, Saudi law continues to enforce strict penalties for alcohol consumption or possession by unauthorized persons, including fines, imprisonment, public flogging, and deportation.

The introduction of the alcohol store does not indicate a broader change in policy towards the general sale of alcohol to non-diplomatic foreigners or non-Muslim residents in Saudi Arabia, who remain unable to legally access alcohol. Other Gulf countries, like the UAE and Qatar, allow alcohol sales to non-Muslims in controlled environments like hotels and bars, but Saudi Arabia has not indicated any plans to adopt a similar approach.

You may also like

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?
Update Required Flash plugin
Verified by MonsterInsights