Alcohol legal in Kuwait
In a surprise move aimed at fostering tourism, Kuwait's government announced yesterday that alcohol would be legalised in Kuwait starting May 25 after more than 40 years of prohibition. Alcohol will be available only in five star establishments or at state liquor outlets and sold only to non-Muslim expatriates holding a liquor-consuming ration cards. Each expatriate will be allowed five bottles of liquor or 100 bottles of beer per month at government regulated stores. Any Muslim caught buying or consuming alcohol will face stiff penalties.
In December 1964, Kuwait's government banned all liquor within its borders following a series of drunken driving fatalities, primarily of citizens. Prohibition triggered a flourishing underground bootlegging trade both in smuggled alcohol and bathtub gin.
This past week, international beverage firm Eastern Liquors has won the sole distribution license and will be partnering with local establishments for sales and marketing. EL is a regional leader in beverage distribution, with operations in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Manama.
Sources within the security forces told Kuwait Times that a special squad of 225 local police have already undergone training in the United Arab Emirates and Britain for handling drunk drivers. Persons caught driving while intoxicated face up to five years in jail and a KD 10,000 fine.
Happy April Fools’ Day