1 thought on “Introduction of Alcohol in Saudi Arabia ”

  1. In Yemen, alcohol has long been present, in part due to the Jewish community: when Amedeo Guillet fled to Yemen in 1941, “The Yemen’s little Italian community […] feted his escape with a large lunch of Italian food, served with a fine red wine made by the Yemen’s Jewish community.” (p.255) When I visited Haydan in 1991, a local Muslim suggested I might like to join the Jewish community for the Sabbath meal and a cup of wine.

    Yemeni Muslims have also made alcohol from a variety of sources, particularly in order to make vinegar. In al-Hami, I was told with a smile that they would test the palm wine often “just to see if it had turned to vinegar”. Yemenis also distill araq, sometimes from grapes, sometimes from dates. The brews which I tried had no flavouring, and were mostly used for tafsikh (a “digestif”) after chewing qat. Famously, the PDRY also had a brewery in Aden, which produced Sira lager. As with chewing qat, some Yemenis drank; some didn’t; no one seemed to judge.

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