Saudi Arabia set to open 1st liquor store: report

Saudi Arabia set to open 1st liquor store: report

It is also part of wider plans known as Vision 2030 to build a post-oil economy.
Saudi Arabia set to open 1st liquor store: report

Web Desk

|

24 Jan 2024

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is all set to open its first alcohol store in Riyadh, exclusively for non-Muslim diplomats, according to a source familiar with the plans and a document.

Customers will have to register via a mobile app, get a clearance code from the foreign ministry and respect monthly quotas with their purchases, said the document, which was seen by Reuters.

The move is a milestone in the kingdom’s efforts, led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to open the ultra-conservative Muslim country for tourism and business as drinking alcohol is forbidden in Islam.

It is also part of wider plans known as Vision 2030 to build a post-oil economy.

The new store is located in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter, a neighborhood where embassies and diplomats reside, and will be “strictly restricted” to non-Muslims, the document said.

It was unclear if other non-Muslim expatriates would have access to the store. Millions of expatriates live in Saudi Arabia but most of them are Muslim workers from Asia and Egypt.

A source familiar with the plans said the store is expected to open in the coming weeks.

Saudi Arabia has strict laws against drinking alcohol which can be punishable by hundreds of lashes, deportation, fines, or imprisonment and expatriates also face deportation. As part of the reforms, whipping has largely been replaced by jail sentences.

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