Some of the leading alcoholic beverages distribution organisations in Dubai have confirmed that they have noticed an increase in their sales on New Year's Day.

This comes after Dubai suspended the 30 per cent municipality tax on all alcoholic beverages and the personal liquor licence fee.

From January 1, 2023, personal liquor licences will be free of cost for those eligible to legally purchase alcoholic beverages in Dubai. A valid Emirates ID, or Passport for tourists, will still be required to apply.

A call centre staff at African + Eastern, Dubai said, “After the news the footfall has really increased in our shop. Besides, procuring alcohol licence is now free of charge… this is absolutely true. Now the prices are almost the same as the Barracuda price, so people don’t have to travel that far. Ninety-nine per cent of it is the same. We are seeing a lot of customers coming in since morning, especially as it’s a Sunday, January 1, and many people are off.”

A person must be at least 21 years of age to drink legally in the UAE, and alcohol can only be consumed privately or in licensed public places.

Tyrone Reid, Group CEO of Maritime and Mercantile International (MMI) & Emirates Leisure Retail said, “Following the announcement by the Government of Dubai to remove the 30 per cent municipality tax on sales of alcoholic beverages, we are pleased to announce that this will be reflected across all alcoholic beverage products in all our 21 MMI stores in Dubai, effective January 1."

Earlier, in October 2022, the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT) specified the technical and ingredient requirements for alcoholic drinks. These guidelines, it said, were developed to ensure the safety of both consumers and suppliers.

Under the DCT policy, the minimum alcoholic strength must be 0.5 per cent. Wine should be free from vinegar taste or smell, while beer should not contain any artificial sweeteners, flavours and colourants, except for caramel.

"The product must be prepared and handled in accordance with suitable sanitary conditions," it added.

The drinks should also be packed in clean containers that can "protect it from pollution and damage".

All information about the ingredients, origin, manufacturer, shelf life, and alcohol percentage must be specified on the labels.


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