Saudi Arabia opens its first-ever alcohol store — but it's only accessible to a select group

January 25, 2024

Matthew Horwood | Getty Images News | Getty ImagesSaudi Arabia has opened its first alcohol store in the diplomatic quarter of its capital Riyadh, two sources told CNBC. According to a list of store rules seen by CNBC, the venue is only accessible to non-Muslim diplomats, and authorization must be validated through an app called Diplo. A shop in the diplomatic quarter is a small step in that direction, one Saudi consultant close to the kingdom's royal court told CNBC. "It's a baby step to opening up alcohol sales to non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia eventually, to hotels and other venues," said the consultant, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the topic. Foreign embassy staff, who are able to import alcohol to be kept on embassy premises, are known in Saudi Arabia to often import booze in large quantities and then sell it on the black market.