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World Cup host Qatar to introduce 100% alcohol tax

Qatar is to introduce a 100 % tax on alcohol from January 1 2019, a government official said on Monday (Dec 31)

Qatar, in a bid to wean people off harmful, addictive substances, had increased the prices of cigarettes, energy drinks and carbonated beverages effective today.

Qatar had earlier announced an increase in the prices of cigarettes and energy drinks by 100% and soft drinks by 50%, reported Qatar Living.

Qatar Distribution Company, which is the sole distributor of alcoholic beverages in the country, had sent out a circular to its users informing them of the new tax. They had also provided them with the new charges for beverages.

The list was widely shared on social media and showed drinks doubling in price overnight, as it detailed charges which come into effect from Jan 1.

When AFP asked a government spokesman about whether the file was accurate, he had replied in the affirmative.

With the new levy, a 100cl bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin will now cost 340 Qatari riyals (US$93) and a 75cl of Shiraz wine from South Africa will be sold for 86 riyals (US$23).

A 24-pack of Heineken 330ml beers will now cost 384 riyals (US$105).

It is legal to buy alcohol in Qatar with a permit, and drink in licenced bars, drinking in public is banned.

Tournament organisers in Qatar have said alcohol will be available for fans in designated areas, but not in public spaces, out of respect for the country's traditions, reported Channel News Asia.

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