Abu Dhabi, considered as one of the safest cities in the middle east, is a haven for commercial as well as tourism investors. The hospitality sector of the emirate is vibrant and ever-transforming, contributing immensely to the economic expansion of the emirate and thus the country. However, the grey areas in the regulations on trade and purchase of alcohol in the UAE have always been a challenge to the sector for a long time until the introduction of new regulations on individual licenses for personal consumption of alcohol in the emirates.
According to the updated resolution by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, the residents and tourists in Abu Dhabi will no longer need a license to purchase alcohol for personal consumption and will be permitted to buy and possess alcohol from licensed retail shops or consume at a licensed hotel establishment, given:
- The consumer is 21 years old.
- The purchase is for personal consumption only and not for resale to others.
- The alcoholic beverages are consumed in private homes or inside licensed areas.
The resolution asserts that purchasing alcohol for the purpose of storage, trading, or reselling by individuals is prohibited and punishable by law and a valid trade license issued by the concerned authority is essential for the corporate usage of alcohol in the country.
The requirements for a valid corporate license for alcohol in the UAE are:
- Applicant’s details with a name of the physical person who shall be named in the license
- Premise details where liquor will be sold
- Details of security storage arranged in liquor storing area
- Mentioning fire precautions
- Estimated cost amount of monthly liquor required
Moreover, alcoholic beverages are prohibited to be sold in supermarkets or grocery stores and a sale without a valid license will be subjected to Dh 100,000 fine for the first offense, Dh 200,000 for the second offense, etc. Similarly, selling liquor to anyone under 21 is subjected to a fine of Dh40,000 for the first offense, and Dh60,000 for the second offense, etc.
Advertising and promotions of alcoholic beverages are also prohibited by law, and a warning will be issued for the first offense. Further non-compliance will result in penalties whereby a fine of Dh10,000 will apply at the second offense, Dh30,000 on the third offense, and so on. The promotional activities of this kind include media advertising, window displays, and any kind of product advertisement regardless of its medium.
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The production of alcoholic beverages at home is also a violation of UAE regulations and the offender will be referred directly to the courts for legal proceedings.
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