High prices did not exclude any item or commodity on the Syrian market, and the opportunity to spend some worry-free time as one tries to create a joyful state of mind has become all the more difficult. This is especially true for alcoholic beverages, whose prices have gone through the roof.
Prices have reached levels that those who consume alcohol consider to be too high, let alone unacceptable. Samir, a resident of Masyaf, told Al Etihad Press that he and his friends have been “deprived of [our] usual weekly evening since the price of a liter of arak has reached 5,000 Syrian pounds.”
“The problem is not only the price of the drink, but also all the mezze food [appetizers] that is typically consumed with alcohol, which has become very expensive. The cost of a simple evening for four people has neared 20,000 pounds, sans dinner [the main course(s)].”
Ramy, the owner of a liquor store in Salamiyah, said that “the high cost of alcoholic beverages has impacted sales greatly.” Ramy is considering closing his store and working in another profession that allows him to make more money. Regarding the prices, he said that “the price of a liter of factory-produced arak ranges from 4,000 to 7,000 pounds, while some kinds, made in Lebanon, cost 25,000 pounds, such as the brand Ksara. The price of a bottle of whiskey starts from 7,000 pounds up to 200,000 pounds. There are also more expensive brands.”
Some people were better off during the winter season, as they compensated with other types of alcohol, such as wine, which is still affordable and makes them feel warmer on a cold night. There is good quality wine on the market, for 2,000 pounds.
The different tastes of people and their individual, and sometimes strong, preference for a sole type of drink resulted in depriving them from their favorite beverage. Majd, who only drinks beer out of the wide selection of alcoholic beverages, explained that he was “deprived” of beer after its price hit 3,500 pounds.
Even restaurants that serve alcohol are suffering to attract affluent customers. According to Nasr, a restaurant owner in Damascus, customers have become fewer in number, and footfall is less than it used to be. Nasr is afraid of losing all of his clientele if the situation does not improve. He said, sarcastically, “One can certainly drink to have a good time, but, trust me, they will be jolted back to reality when they see the bill.”
With the beginning of the grape season, some resorted to distill arak at home and store large quantities for use until the next season.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.