Here Are The Rules Everyone Must Comply With While Assessing Saudi Arabia’s First Liquor Store

BY Dora Dzaka January 28, 2024 8:17 PM EDT

Saudi Arabia will be opening its first alcohol store in an attempt to stop the illegal trade in alcoholic items and products that are received by diplomatic missions.

The liquor store will only cater to non-Muslim diplomats and be housed in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarters.

It is not permitted for guests or anybody under the age of 21 to accompany authorized store visitors.

Since its outlawing in 1952, alcohol drinking in Saudi Arabia has carried severe penalties, including jail time, fines, deportation, and hundreds of lashes. Foreigners who consume alcohol also risk being banished.

A source familiar with the arrangements told Reuters that the store will be situated in the Diplomatic Quarter of Riyadh, which is a neighborhood home to embassies and diplomats.

Customers will need to register via a mobile application, obtain a clearance code from the foreign ministry, and commit to monthly purchase quotas, according to a document mentioned in the story.

Saudi Arabia’s government confirmed the claim with a statement issued through the Kingdom’s official outlet, the Center of International Communication (CIC).

According to the agency, new limitations are being placed by the government on the import of alcohol into diplomatic consignments.

According to the CIC, the new rules were put in place to stop the illegal trade in alcohol-related items and products that diplomatic missions receive.

Following predetermined quotas, “this new process will continue to grant and ensure that all diplomats of non-Muslim embassies have access to these products.”

Therefore, it is a diplomatic regulation. It is legal for diplomats to import alcoholic beverages into the nation. The source stated, “What happens is they bring too much wine and they put it on the black market.”

Upon arriving at the airports, they are not subject to any fines or costs. Thus, the government’s only goal is to maintain control over that, and it is limited to the diplomatic zone. A code prevents ambassadors from selling large quantities of alcohol.

The Kingdom’s reform may indicate that certain Middle Eastern countries are moving away from their traditional stances about alcohol consumption, even though usage is still closely monitored.

To increase tourism in the emirate, the Dubai government eliminated its thirty percent alcohol tax on January 2, 2023.

Additionally, Dubai eliminated the fees associated with personal liquor licenses, making the permit available to drinkers throughout the United Arab Emirates region for free.

The move, according to the UAE government, was made to increase the city’s appeal to visitors from abroad.