Things to know before consuming Alcohol in Sri Lanka

Drinking Alcoholic drinks in Sri Lanka is a common activity for both locals and tourists. You can find a variety of local and international Alcohol brands available in bars, restaurants, and liquor stores throughout the country. Popular local Alcohol brands include Lion Lager and Three Coins and Arrack, while international brands like Heineken, Carlsberg, Rum and Whisky are also widely available.

1. What is the drinking age that is legal in Sri Lanka?

October 5, 2023 | by Krishan

To consume Alcohol in Sri Lanka you should be 18 years of age

2. Is female tourists are allowed to buy and consume Alcohol in Sri Lanka?

October 5, 2023 | by Krishan

Because of the cultural barriers it is prohibited to buy and consume Alcohol for a female in Sri Lanka but female tourist are allowed to purchase and consume Alcohol without any problem.

3. Can locals in Sri Lanka consume Alcohol?

October 5, 2023 | by Krishan

Since Buddhism is the main religion in Sri Lanka it is viewed as a sin to consume Alcohol for both men and women. But you have free will to choose to either drink or not.

4.What are the places that you can buy Alcohol in Sri Lanka?

October 5, 2023 | by Krishan

There are many places that you can buy Alcohol in Sri Lanka. These include wine stores, hotel and restaurant bars and there are some supermarket chains with wine stores in their premises. The times of these places are open will differ according to the type of license they have.

Wine stores from - 9:00 am to 9:00 pm

Restaurant bars from -11:00 am to 11:00 pm

5. Is wine widely spread as An Alcoholic drink in Sri Lanka?

October 5, 2023 | by Krishan

Not like in European countries wine is not a widely spread drink in Sri Lanka but some liquor stores have a separate place where they sell wine. Apart from these some three star and four to five star hotels have selections of wine brands for sale. If your itinerary suggests staying in small hotels, home stays or guest houses it’s better to buy wine from duty free shops at the Airport.

6.Is it legal to a tourist bring beer, wine or hard liquor into Sri Lanka?

October 5, 2023 | by Krishan

Tourists are allowed to bring Alcoholic drinks in to Sri Lanka but for a legal quantity. Below mentioned are the legal amounts of Alcohol that a tourist can bring with himself.

  • Hard liquor – 1.5 liters
  • Wine – 2 bottles (1.5 liters)
  • Beers – 4 beer cans

7. Is it legal to a tourist bring cigarettes to Sri Lanka?

October 5, 2023 | by Krishan

We all know cigarettes pair with Alcohol. Most of people love to smoke cigarettes while consuming Alcohol but it is illegal to a tourist to bring cigarettes in to Sri Lanka. You can always buy cigarettes from local supermarkets, boutiques and from the hotels where you stay.

8. Are the Alcoholic brands are expensive in Sri Lanka?

October 5, 2023 | by Krishan

The local Alcoholic brands and spirits are not expensive but the imported Alcoholic brands can be expensive compared to your home country. If you need less expensive Alcoholic brands and spirits it’s better to buy from duty free shops at the airport.

8. Is there any special Alcoholic drinks that you should try when you are in Sri Lanka?

October 5, 2023 | by Krishan

One of the traditional Alcoholic drink in Sri Lanka is Toddy or locally known as “Raa”. The Toddy has a mild percentage of Alcohol such as 4%. It is made by sap collected from palm trees. The sap from palm trees are fermented to make Toddy. Apart from Toddy there is another illicit Alcohol drink called Kassippu. These are not allowed to be consumed by local authorities hence some people die of intoxication. Some of these Kassippu is made by fermenting ripen fruits and mixed with other ingredients.

Apart from above two, most popular Alcoholic drink in Sri Lanka is Arrack. It is distilled from toddy / palm syrup and has a much higher percentage of alcohol (30% – 40%). DCSL Extra Special and Old Reserve are the most popular arrack brands in Sri Lanka. Arrack is usually enjoyed with Coca Cola, Soda, with a dash of cold water, or with an ice cube.

9. Is it prohibited to sell Alcohol on Poya Days?

October 5, 2023 | by Krishan

Since Buddhism is the predominant religion in Sri Lanka Poya days or the full moon days are considered as religious days in Sri Lanka. The government of Sri Lanka has banned selling Alcohol on these days but it is not prohibited to consume Alcohol that you have purchased prior to the Poya day in a private space. (E.g: In your hotel room, in your home stay, in your apartment)

10. Is it against the law of Sri Lanka to consume Alcohol and cigarettes in public places?

October 5, 2023 | by Krishan

You are free to drink and smoke in restaurants, bars, night clubs, and private commercial spaces. However, smoking and drinking in public places, such as streets, parks and buses is punishable by law. If you are observed smoking or drinking in public, law enforcement personnel will probably just explain that it is prohibited to smoke / drink in public areas and let you go. However, it is always better to abide by the local laws.

It's important to note that alcohol regulations may vary by location and time, so it's a good idea to be aware of local laws and customs regarding alcohol consumption. Always drink responsibly and in moderation, and be respectful of the local culture while enjoying your beer in Sri Lanka.

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