It's about the beer
Gina Miller and Bill Keeper
I just read about what’s going in Qatar. .A little over a month ago they hiked the price of all
booze by 100%. Fast forward to last week and the Arab Gulf nation did an about face and
slashed prices by about 30%. Despite the price cut, a case of beer at Qatar’s sole liquor store
will still put a dent in the pocket of thirsty consumers at roughly $64. That’s a lot for Budweiser
It seems the price hike was part of a tax of between 50-100% applied to a range of goods the
government deemed “health-damaging,” including tobacco, energy drinks, and sugary
beverages. You might say so what but as a soccer fan I’m sure you know that’s where the
2022 World Cup will be held.
I have no idea what prompted the price raise or the subsequent cut. All I am saying it that it’s
going to be interesting to see how Qatar’s relatively dry culture deals with its role as host of a
tournament closely aligned with alcohol. Remember the last World Cup in Russia? The fans
drank so much that some bars ran out of beer. And we’re talking Bud not Pliny. Budweiser has
been an official FIFA sponsor for decades, and the world’s football governing body insists
tournaments keep taps flowing. They even got Brazil in 2012 to reverse a decade-old ban on
serving alcohol in stadiums.
The head of Qatar’s World Cup 2022 committee confirmed that alcohol would be served during
the tournament, just not “in public places, in the streets and so on, but there will be designated
areas, open areas where people will be able to have alcohol.” It might get crowded in those
designated areas since 1.5 million people are expected to turn up for the games.
Hope you sitting down when I tell you that it is expected that a bottle of Bud will cost around
$15 at the game I hope the World Cup is a big success and all concerned have a great time
but as for me, well, I’ll watch on the TV at my local pub, unless of course the Yankees are
playing and I'm going to the game. That reminds m, I think we paid $6 or $7 for our beer at
Yankee Stadium when we went last year. I’m never going to complain about that again. At
least not until we go again this year.
That's it from me, chug-a-lug, Bill.....see you next time!
Hello Gina -
You certainly surprised me with this month’s topic especially since I know you’re not a huge
“football” fan. Then again it is sports which means beer is involved so that’s perfect for us.
I think that the stiffness of Qatar’s restrictions on public consumption of alcohol are
unprecedented in World Cup history. Although beer and alcohol bans are not uncommon in
soccer stadiums around the world as a measure to curb violence, beer has always been a part
of World Cup culture. It may be the biggest reason why some fans follow the sport. Oh, don’t
give me that look, Gina.
I did see something that will make those attending a bit happier. Beer in Qatar may be
subsidized for the 2022 World Cup, but (there’s always a but) organizers are worried in
particular about the behavior of English fans if they do. I don’t follow the sport much but I do
know that some English fans have a reputation as being shall we say a tad rowdy at big
international tournaments. Officials are also very wary of selling alcoholic drinks on themany
cruise ships where a lot of the England fans are expected to stay because of fears they could
turn into ‘booze cruises.’ That’s my kind of cruise. Too bad I get sea sick.
There is a legitimate point here. Safety and security at any major event has to be the No. 1
priority. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to problems hence why here in the US many
places stop selling beer after the 3rd quarter of a football game or after the 7th inning of a
Interestingly this World Cup will be the first played almost entirely in one city since the inaugural
tournament in 1930 (Montevideo, Uruguay). Since that compacts things I can understand the
worries some have about clashes between fans of different countries that are fueled by too
You realize Gina that beer and sports have a long, glorious history right here in the US. For
examples it’s tradition for the winning team to drink beer out of the Stanley Cup, to have beer
being sprayed around the locker room in a victory celebration, and for beer companies to
sponsor just about any event that can vaguely be called a sport from cornhole to sand castle
building competitions .
I doubt if this upcoming World Cup will see anything like one of my favorite beer and sports
moments. The Jumbotron at a sporting event (I forgot the game) was showing the Kiss Cam. It
focused on a guy who shunned his girlfriend next to him and showed just how much he loved
the beverage he was enjoying during the game. He kissed his glass of beer. It’s enough to bring
a beer, I mean tear, to my eye.
Here's looking at you, Gina.