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Blackmarket booze prices rise ahead of New Year’s holiday – Illegal but available at KD100 to 170 per bottle
December 30, 2013, 11:19 pm
Alcohol may be illegal in Kuwait but it is still widely available – though prices are skyrocketing due to the upcoming New Year’s Eve holiday. “I buy original whisky, though it’s very expensive and then gather my friends over for a barbeque in my apartment on New Year’s Day,” said one resident who asked that his name be withheld due to the illicit nature of the issue.
Prices for the most popular brands – Johnny Walker Red Label and Black Label – have already more than doubled on the black market. A bottle of Red Label is now selling for KD 100 to KD 170 (up from the normal price of KD 50-KD70.) Prices, of course, vary according to the source and the number of bottles purchased.
Homemade brews are also available on the black market, with prices running anywhere from KD 5 to KD 8 for the harsh, clear drink known as rice liquor to KD 15 to KD 20 for a bottle of so called ‘date rum’. Given its illicit nature, manufacturers and dealers go to great lengths to disguise the liquids, using local water bottles or other packaging to hide the real contents. “Some local brews are now packaged in soda bottles or even oil containers in order to escape notice by police,” explained a source with knowledge of the black market industry. “I bought like this in Murgab in a shopping bag. You can never tell what’s in my shopping bag because it looks like anything,” he said.
Alcohol was banned in Kuwait in 1960. Though there has been occasional talk of permitting its sale in hotels as a way to boost tourism, the government continues to support full prohibition. Illicit sale of alcohol, however, remains a lucrative and thriving industry in the country. Poisoning from bad batches of bathtub brewed local alcohol occur but are rare
Courtesy: Kuwait Times
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