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Saudi Arabia Plans Inaugural Liquor Store Exclusively for Non-Muslim Diplomats

January 24, 2024









Saudi Arabia is gearing up to launch its inaugural alcohol store in the capital city of Riyadh. The store, situated in the Diplomatic Quarter, is exclusively intended for non-Muslim diplomats. To make purchases, customers must register via a mobile app, obtain clearance from the foreign ministry, and adhere to monthly quotas, according to a document seen by Reuters.

This development marks a milestone in Saudi Arabia’s initiatives, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to attract tourism and foster business. Notably, the conservative Muslim country strictly prohibits alcohol consumption, making this move a key element in the broader Vision 2030 plan aimed at diversifying the economy beyond oil.

While the store is specifically designated for non-Muslims, it remains unclear whether other non-Muslim expatriates residing in the country will have access. The store, expected to open in the coming weeks, signifies a departure from the previous limited avenues for acquiring alcohol in the nation, which were primarily through diplomatic channels or the black market.

Saudi Arabia’s stringent laws against alcohol consumption have historically resulted in severe punishments, including lashes, deportation, fines, or imprisonment. Recent reforms have seen a shift from corporal punishment to more prevalent jail sentences. This bold move aligns with the kingdom’s broader vision for transformation and openness to the world.


Credit: New York Post


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