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Today, the reason for a country to be categorized as a ‘dry country,’ is mainly because of religious reasons. Some countries have a partial or an all-out ban on alcohol because they adhere to strict religious laws and beliefs. Mainly these ‘dry countries,’ follow Islamic Sharia Law, which forbids alcohol.
Afghanistan with its strict laws considers the consumption of alcohol as a crime, especially for its locales. Violation of this law could get you heavily fined, imprisoned, or whipped. Though for foreigners there are some licensed stores available now and a limit is also set.
Yemen is another country which follows Sharia Law and the public consumption of alcohol is outlawed here. But the Yemini law gives permission to consume alcohol in your private home, therefore foreigners are allowed to carry a set volume for themselves, and consume it in their own personal space. The sale of Alcohol is banned in the country with the exception of Aden and Sana’a, where alcohol is served in specific nightclubs and restaurants. If one is caught here then the punishment is imprisonment, but not torture.
Saudi Arabia, which is home to the Muslim sacred site of Mecca, practices a complete ban on alcohol, and even tourists are not allowed to bring alcohol within the country. This is one country which can implement harsh punishments such as long-term imprisonment and flogging.
Alcohol in Bangladesh used to be completely illegal, but now, with the influx of tourists, the country’s laws have become a little more fluid. Hotel bars and some makeshift bars along the streets do serve alcohol, but to purchase a bottle one needs to have a foreign passport. The Bangladesh airport has a duty-free shop as well.
The oil-rich country of Brunei has a complete booze ban, but foreigners are allowed to carry two liters (67.628 ounce) of spirits every 48 hours, but they need to declare it. Foreigners also need to purchase a permit to drink within the country.
In 1977, the Pakistan religious political parties banned the consumption of alcohol, yet legalized licensed shops do allow foreigners to purchase alcohol in the country. Apart from this, bootlegger and ‘sketchy’ shops are quite famous here too.
The UAE emirate of Sharjah, is the only place in the UAE that has a complete ban on sale and purchase of alcohol, unless you possess an alcohol license from the government. Even then one can only consume it within their personal homes.
In the country of Iran, consumption of alcohol for Muslims is banned, and non-alcoholic beer is something which is famous here, as the country also is against carbonated colas. But for non-Muslims, manufacturing and consumption under certain terms and conditions is allowed.
The Islamic Republic of Mauritania follows strict Islamic laws, and only non-Muslims are allowed to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages in hotels which have a valid permit.
In 1983, the liquor prohibition law was passed in Sudan, and since then for locales it is a complete no-no. Yet some areas manufacture freshly brewed local beer which is consumed mainly by foreigners, for locales, if caught consuming alcohol they will face the strict Islamic punishment.
Kuwait is one of the few countries which has an alcohol ban beyond just religious beliefs. The government witnessed a huge number of drunk -driving accidents, and therefore a ban was legalized.
In India, alcohol bans are a state matter. States like Gujarat, Nagaland, Lakshadweep, Manipur, and Bihar, have a ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol.
Some other countries are Somalia, and Libya where the same laws are practiced as the other Islamic countries. Only for foreigners is the consumption of alcohol allowed, in licensed hotels and some legalized stores.
Countries where Alcohol was banned in the past:
United States – 1920-1933
Canada – 1918-1920
Faroe Island – 1907-1992
Russian Empire and Soviet Union – 1914-1923
Iceland – 1915-1935
Norway – 1916-1927
Hungarian Soviet Republic – March 21 – August 1,1919
Finland – 1919-1932