But alcohol content must not exceed eight percent
The Cabinet has issued a directive that the economic affairs ministry permit the establishment of new alcohol manufacturing industries, it was revealed at the national symposium on building partnership in reducing harmful use of alcohol in Bhutan, held last weekend, in Paro.
According to an economic affairs official speaking during the symposium, the Cabinet issued the directive stating that new alcohol manufacturing companies can be established as long as the alcohol content of their product does not exceed eight percent.
But what caused confusion among participants attending the symposium, was that the directive is conflicting with a national assembly decision made in January this year to disallow issuance of new licenses for liquor manufacturing.
Currently, a number of proposals to establish new alcohol industries are pending with the economic affairs ministry.
Participants also questioned how the Cabinet had arrived at the eight percent alcohol content level. Beer usually falls between four to six percent alcohol content, although it can go up to 12 percent, while cider, mead, and barley wine can fall in the eight percent category. Wine falls between nine to 16 percent alcohol content.
The economic affairs ministry policy and planning division did not respond to questions on what decision it will take regarding the directive, as of last evening.
In early 2010, the economic affairs ministry also suspended the issuance of new standalone bar licenses in a bid to lower alcohol consumption in the country, but exempted hotels from the suspension.
By Gyalsten K Dorji