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Qatar Duty Free acquires booze business

Qatar Duty Free has announced the full acquisition of Qatar Distribution Company, the sole licensed distributor of wines and spirits in the country.

Qatar Distribution Company was established in 2000 and has since been operated by Aer Rianta International-Middle East (ARI-ME) on behalf of Qatar Airways.

The company offers wines and spirits to licensed hotels and qualifying private individuals in Qatar, according to DFNI.

Alcohol consumption is legal in Qatar, although drinking in public is strictly prohibited. Bars, clubs and restaurants licensed by hotels serve alcohol, and non-Muslim residents can buy alcohol for home consumption from a state-controlled distributor through a permit system.

According to recent reports, Saudi Arabia could lift its total ban on alcohol as it prepares to open a liquor store in the capital Riyadh. Only non-Muslim diplomats will be able to shop there.

Qatar Duty Free has also appointed Garrett Coogan as vice president to oversee the transition following six years at the helm of Qatar Distribution Company. Coogan held leadership positions at airport duty free operations in Russia, Ukraine, Bahrain and Cyprus, before joining the company in 2018.

Thabet Musleh, Qatar Duty Free senior vice president, called the acquisition an “important milestone in our ongoing mission to expand Qatar Duty Free’s business by leveraging our significant retail, marketing and logistics expertise”.

He said: “Having consolidated our position in wine and spirits across Hamad International Airport’s retail, and now in the local market, we believe there is significant growth to be delivered by driving greater efficiencies and synergies across this footprint.”

Musleh continued: “I’m also delighted to welcome Garrett Coogan to the QDF leadership team. Having worked with Garrett during his tenure at QDC, I appreciate first-hand the knowledge and experience he will bring to our business. His deep understanding of the local market, combined with a truly international perspective, is a formidable combination and something we can draw on as we continue to execute our growth strategy.”

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