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Bali Retailers Raise Objections to Coming Ban on Beer Sales at Convenience Stores and Minimarkets reports that the Indonesia Retail Association (APRINDO) is asking the Ministry of Trade to review its plans to outlaw the prohibition of the sale of alcoholic beverages containing less than 5% alcohol in minimarkets and convenience stores.

The ban on the sale of beer and pre-mixed cocktails formed the basis of a Ministerial regulation issued by Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel and set to take effect on April 16, 2015.

The deputy-secretary general of APRINDO Satrio Hamid said on Saturday, January 31, 2015, that the coming prohibition is counter-productive. Rules have been put in place at minimarkets and convenience stores to prevent minors from buying beer. Banning the sale of beer from these locations will drive their sale to places less easily monitored and controlled by the Government.

Hamid continued: “For another example, in tourist areas there needs to be a special tolerance applied due to the existing market demand. If there existed no existing demand there would not be the present high level of sales. Forbid these sales and it will detract from a favorable investment climate. Because of this, many local governments and people are demanding these products be available for sale.”

A Trade Ministry regulation passed in 2014 already provides that beer and other alcoholic beverages be separated from other non-alcoholic beverages and carry stickers forbidding the sale to people under the age of 21. In a rule that is largely ignored in Bali, the 2014 regulation also stipulates that beer must be located behind counters controlled by sales staff that must hand the merchandise to customers while checking the customer’s identity to ensure minimum age rules are obeyed.

Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel is vigorously defending the new rule, insisting the move was only announced after careful consideration and input from various elements of society. The Minister said that minimarkets have mushroomed and are now located in residential areas and in close proximity to schools.

Gobel warned that if minimarkets and convenience stores are still selling beer after April 16, 2015 he will not hesitate to revoke their business licenses.

There are currently some nine types of alcoholic beverages falling under “Group A” drinks to be banned from sale at minimarkets and convenience stores: beer, lager, ale, bir hitam or stout, low alcohol wine, carbonated alcoholic drinks and Bali Brem.

Source: Bali Discovery Tours

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