Ins and outs of alcohol business in Bangladesh

In a Muslim inhabited country like Bangladesh dealing with alcohol seems to be myth; because the population of Bangladesh stands at 130 million, but 87% are Muslims and so are forbidden from consuming alcohol by their religion and for the Bangladeshi passport holders buying, carrying, stocking or consuming alcohol is legally prohibited by every domain of law. But expensive bars and back-street liquor shops have become popular among the country’s young, rich population.

The alcohol industry of Bangladesh is a very thin one from the very beginning. The country has only one alcohol brand called Carew and Co. and that is also a state-owned establishment. To break this monopoly and upgrade the product quality, other brands are needed in the market. But there is no chance of giving license for private spirit production in near future.

Setting up a licensed bar in Dhaka is like moving a mountain. If a hard working Bengali national were to open a license selling alcohol to the public or to open a Dhaka bar, our press and people would strongly reject to such business as it shows such disrespect towards Islam.
To have such a license proper documentation is never enough in Bangladesh. One needs to submit the application and then start lobbying with the top officials of the government and the ministers of the cabinet. This is not just it. In every step you have to bribe every one related to this permission. Then you will wait for years. And everything goes accordingly then you will get the permission to open a bar at Dhaka.

The whole alcohol business in Bangladesh is dominated by few political leaders and businessmen. The market just doesn’t open up for new businessmen. To do alcohol business in Bangladesh you need to have solid political backing and some big shot of the country to promote your establishment. If you don’t have those backups then, it is almost impossible for you to have the permission. Let’s assume, somehow you got the permission but without strong backing you won’t be able to run a bar.

After establishing the bar, main hassle starts. To run the business you will be paying huge bribes to the law enforcement officials and syndicates of the city. This goes on and on.