Beers on the beach in reach in Sri Lanka thanks to tourism minister

A cold beer on the beach is one of the many joys of a tropical holiday—but in Sri Lanka it’s not quite so simple.

Unlike most other Asian destinations, beer and wine sales outlets are restricted, while high taxes put them in the realm of spirits and ‘hard’ liquor such as whisky and locally produced arrack.

But foreign tourists will be pleased to know that things might be about to change…

Essential for tourism

The Daily Mirror reports that Tourism Minister John Amaratunga has proposed the removal of restrictions on ‘soft’ liquor sales “so that these types of alcoholic beverages would be freely available”.

He said that “availability of soft liquor is essential for the tourism industry. Soft liquor is available in almost all shops in other countries which focus on the tourism industry whereas it is the opposite in Sri Lanka.

He earlier noted that “in a Buddhist country like Thailand one can find spirits in every supermarket almost 24 hours day, and it is high time that Sri Lanka too should think in these lines”.

Read more here.

Tax policy ‘shocking’

Earlier this year, EconomyNext reported that Sri Lanka’s largest beer maker as saying that “the current tax policy which is making hard alcohol more attractive to consumers is ‘shocking’”.

Lion Brewery told shareholders that a tax policy that encourages hard liquor is “unusual and defies rationality”.

It cited figures showing that while tax on mild beer was raised by 27 percent and strong beer by up to 70 percent, tax on arrack, Sri Lanka’s most popular ‘hard’ alcohol, was up only 24 percent.

Read more here.

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