After Decades of Prohibition, Saudi Arabia Opens First ever Alcohol Store, Details Emerge

Jan 25, 2024 | Entertainment, News

  • Saudi Arabia is about to open its first liquor shop in decades as it increasingly loosens social restrictions
  • understands that the alcohol will only be sold to non-Muslim diplomats, and authorisation must be validated through an app called Diplo
  • Saudi Arabia plans to open the licensed store in the coming weeks in Riyadh, according to multiple reports journalist Ridwan Adeola Yusuf has over 9-year-experience covering public journalism and global news

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is preparing to open its first alcohol store in its capital, Riyadh.

According to a list of store rules CNBC said it sighted, the venue is only accessible to non-Muslim diplomats, and authorisation must be validated through an app called Diplo.

Saudi Arabia alcohol/saudi arabia alcohol consumption/saudi arabia alcohol laws/saudi arabia alcohol license
The licensed liquor shop will be in Riyadh. Photo credit: Chesnot
Source: Getty Images

Saudi Arabia to open first store selling alcohol

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The media platform said a Western diplomat based in Riyadh, who does not want to be named, said that their colleagues had already visited the store and that it is “extremely well stocked.”

No guests or people under the age of 21 are allowed to accompany authorised visitors to the store, photography is strictly prohibited, and phones need to be kept in secure “mobile pouches” so as not to be used while in the store. Purchases are also subject to a monthly quota system per registered individual.

The store is expected to open in the coming weeks, Reuters reported on Wednesday, January 24.

Since it was officially prohibited in 1952, the kingdom has strictly banned alcoholic beverages in the country, Middle East Eye noted.

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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.

What to read about Saudi Arabia:

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In a piece of related news, reported that Saudi Arabia’s energy minister shut the door on agreeing to phase out fossil fuels at the United Nationa (UN’s) COP28 climate talks, setting the stage for difficult negotiations in Dubai.

A tentative “phasedown/out” was included in a first draft of an agreement on climate action that delegates are haggling over during talks that are scheduled to finish on December 12, 2023. But Energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, a half-brother of Salman, disclosed that Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, would not agree.


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