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Saudis Shocked at Illegal Wine Factories

Posted by perle0 on 2005-09-21 23:00:54 (3523 views)

[Europe - other]
Recent reports in the local media giving details of raids on illegal wine factories across the Kingdom have shocked the Islamic Saudi society, where alcohol is banned.

Saudi society continues to refuse to admit alcohol use is rife in the country, with the authorities arguing that those who engage in the illegal activity aim to spread evil without realising that large amounts of alcoholic drinks are due to local demands, according to a report in the Arabic daily Asharq Al Awsat on Saturday.

A residential place in the Al Rabwa neighbourhood, east of the capital, was broken into and a complete alcohol-producing factory was uncovered along with SR15,000 worth of goods ready to be distributed across the Kingdom.

The report said that further searches of the property provided details of how large quantities of wine were being produced, using heavy machinery to process the grapes, rat carcasses to accelerate the fermentation process as well as sewage water and several banned chemicals.

A two-litre bottle of beer can cost as much as SR 250 with some producers offering discounts for large orders. On an average, the number of barrels used to ferment grapes in each of the twenty illegal factories discovered by the police was 50, holding 500 litres, the price of which was SR 3.75 million, usually sold within a two months period. A single factory could therefore generate SR 22.5 million every year.

Wine bottles, smuggled into the Kingdom and sold on the black market, cost SR700 and are sometimes laden with chemicals to increase alcohol content and volume.

Ongoing investigations with individuals arrested for their involvement in producing or selling alcoholic beverages, revealed that most of them were non-Saudis who had learned the necessary skills before travelling to the Kingdom and then teaching locals.

Most of those arrested said economic gain was the main motive behind their actions since they could obtain large sums of money in a limited period.

Rat carcasses? Makes sulfites and antifreeze sound positively delicious.

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