Indonesia has banned small retailers from selling beer, despite an outcry from the alcohol and tourism industries over the Muslim-majority country's latest offensive against drinking.

The ban restricts the sale of beer and pre-mixed drinks to large supermarkets only, outlawing sales in the country's 16,000 minimarts and 55,000 other small shops. Hotels, restaurants and bars are unaffected.

There had been particular anxiety about how the ban might affect tourism on the Hindu-majority resort island of Bali. However, Indonesian trade minister Rachmat Gobel, who was shouted at during an ill-tempered meeting with community leaders in Bali last weekend, has now pledged to ease the restrictions on the island to ensure street vendors can still sell beer at the beach.

In anticipation of the ban, convenience stores in the capital Jakarta began pulling alcohol from their shelves weeks ago, replacing chilled beers and bourbon and cokes with signs apologising to customers for the inconvenience.

"I think tourists will not appreciate it. Everybody likes to have a beer," German tourist Daniel Kowalski said. "Some people may actually say 'well I can't have a beer, I'd rather go to Thailand'."

Source: ABC News

Image: BBC News

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