Saudi Arabia Launches First Non-Muslim Diplomatic Beverage Outlet With Restricted Access

Saudi Arabia shatters 70-year tradition with inauguration of first beverage outlet.

by Deeplata Garde
Saudi Arabia Launches First Non-Muslim Diplomatic Beverage Outlet With Restricted Access

In a groundbreaking development, Saudi Arabia is on the verge of introducing its first legal beverage store in over seven decades. This decision, endorsed by Saudi officials, is geared towards combating the underground trade of beverages and aligns seamlessly with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 initiative, which envisions the nation as a key regional player in trade, finance, and tourism.

Challenging Established Norms For Beverages In Saudi Arabia

Non-Alcoholic Beers
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Despite the prevailing Islamic practices discouraging beverage consumption within the majority of the population, the narrative behind Saudi Arabia’s beverage prohibition, enacted in 1952, holds both intrigue and historical significance.

Geographical And Temporal Context

Beverage Saudi Arabia
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The prospective beverages store, strategically positioned in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter to the west of the city centre, is slated for imminent inauguration, as disclosed by a well-informed source. However, a rigorous regulatory framework will be in effect, necessitating individuals to pre-register and secure government clearance.

Guidelines And Limitations

Upholding a standard of decency, the establishment will prohibit entry to individuals below 21 years old, imposing a mandatory dress code. Notably, attendees, such as drivers, can not substitute themselves with proxies. Also, stringent monthly restrictions will come into enforcement soon. Patrons are confined to a monthly quota of 240 “points” for beverages, with varying point allocations for different beverage categories.

Structured Point System For Beverages In Saudi Arabia

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For instance, a litre of spirits will translate to six points, a litre of wine to three points, and a litre of beer to one point. Despite this pivotal policy transition, there is no indication of extending access to ordinary foreigners in the kingdom lacking diplomatic privileges.

Legal Implications & Prospective Regulations

While the integration of beverages into Riyadh’s social fabric signifies a monumental shift, potential consumers must exercise caution. Present Saudi legislation stipulates severe penalties, including fines, imprisonment, public flogging, and deportation for unauthorized foreign individuals caught consuming or possessing beverages.

The released document also alludes to an impending “new regulatory framework” allowing diplomats to import “specific quantities” of beverages, curbing the unregulated exchange of such goods.

In Conclusion

drinking alcohol
Credits: Canva

Saudi Arabia takes a bold stride towards relaxing its drinking policies. The inauguration of the first beverage store in over 70 years reflects a shift in the nation’s cultural and economic landscape. However, individuals keen on embracing this newfound freedom should exercise mindfulness.  Also, they should consider both established guidelines and the broader legal context. Follow all guidelines and rules surrounding beverage consumption in the kingdom.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva Stock Images

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