Good Beer Hunting

Indonesian Government Considers Banning Alcohol in Bali

Bali sunset photo by Thomas Depenbusch, shared under a Creative Commons license

Alcohol could soon be banned outright in Indonesia, according to a report from The Telegraph. The governmental proposal would see the sale, production, and consumption of all alcohol throughout Indonesia’s 34 provinces banned, with a jail sentence of up to 10 years for those found to be breaking the law.

Bali, one of Indonesia’s most liberal provinces, has an economy built almost entirely on tourism. Alcohol sales, including domestic beer brands such as Anker and Bintang, depend heavily on this annual traffic. The province receives around four million visitors a year, nearly equal to the island’s own population. An alcohol ban could be disastrous for the tourism industry, especially if thirsty tourists choose to vacation in more alcohol-friendly Asian nations such as Thailand or Vietnam.

But perhaps there’s another implication here. Multinational beer companies such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, Carlsberg, and Heineken are currently seeking to grow business in the East as enthusiasm for these brands steadily wanes in Western locales. Meanwhile, Heineken is amidst a big expansion in Vietnam to capture the nation’s young and growing market. If other Asian nations—even relatively small provinces such as Bali—make the sale of alcohol illegal, this could alter those expansion plans in big ways.

—Matthew Curtis

Indonesia proposes alcohol ban in Bali [The Telegraph]