Saudi Arabia to Launch Its First Alcohol Store for Non-Muslims in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia is set to make history with the opening of its first liquor store in the Diplomatic quarter of Riyadh, catering to non-Muslim diplomats. However, the eligibility of non-Muslim expatriates remains ambiguous.
Alcohol Store in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia is on the verge of establishing its first-ever liquor store in its capital city, Riyadh.

Specifically set in the Diplomatic Quarter, the establishment will exclusively cater to non-Muslim envoys and diplomats, according to an anonymous source cited in a Reuters report.

Potential clients will be required to adhere to a unique system for purchases, which encompasses registration through a mobile application, obtaining a clearance code from the foreign ministry, and respecting imposed monthly purchasing limits. It is anticipated that the alcohol boutique will open its doors in the coming weeks.

While the ground-breaking shop intends to serve non-Muslim diplomats exclusively, whether non-Muslim expatriates will have store access remains unclear. This comes amid the Kingdom’s strict legislation against alcohol consumption, with the law levying severe punishments for infringement, including lashings, deportation, cash fines, and incarceration.

Despite requests, the Saudi government has refrained from commenting on this development.

Coinciding with this novelty, the country’s state media reported the government’s intention to tighten the reins on alcohol imports in diplomatic parcels, a strategy likely to ramp up demands for the newly established liquor store.

The measure aims to curtail the “improper exchange of special goods and alcoholic beverages received by the embassies of non-Muslim nations within Saudi Arabia,” as per Arab News Daily’s Sunday report.

Observers speculate that this innovation is part of the ongoing social reforms spearheaded by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The endeavor is meant to transform the ultra-conservative Muslim nation into a more welcoming destination for tourists and entrepreneurs.

Moreover, this initiative aligns with the overarching Vision 2030, which aims to cultivate an economy that does not rely solely on oil.

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