By Nissaf Slama | Mar 14 2014
The new draft budget under discussion could increase Tunisian beer prices, according to the Attounissya newspaper and others sources, upsetting Tunisian beer drinkers.
The increase is still uncertain, but complaints from Tunisian beer lovers have already begun.
“It’s no big deal that I drink. I think 7 out of 10 Tunisians drink. Beer is the only thing that allows me to relax and hang out with friends after a stressful week,” said 24-year-old student Houssem Jobbi.
Anxious about the increase, Jobbi questions the decision.
“What’s their reason for such an increase? If all drinkers boycott beer for one day, the state will go crazy. In fact, that will teach them a lesson. They say the money goes to projects, but I don’t see any projects.”
“Alcohol is a means to escape reality. Many of the people who drink want to reach moments of emotional balance,” says Mahmoud Bamia, a 39-year-old coffee shop owner.
“Everything is more expensive now. Increasing beer prices is not a solution for the state budget. We need comprehensive reform and certainly to put an end to financial corruption of the state,” he said.
For Abdelhak Cherni, a guitarist and student at the High Institute of Multimedia, beer holds a special place in his daily routine.
“Drinking is the most enjoyable waste of my money. It’s a kind of a marker, it marks the end of the day. Even if if I sometimes have a few while working, it always feels better when you are done with everything and ready to kick back,” he said.
Even if the price goes higher, Cherni insists that he “will not stop buying it.”
“For me, beer is healthy wheat with a bit of unhealthy fun,” said Asma, a 23-year-old student. “It is the safest thing to have around friends. It is also light and carefree compared to other kinds of alcohol.”
“It’s clear that Tunisians drink a lot,” she added. “The government knows that and definitely plays it as a card. It’s about time to put to rest talk about religion and our non-drinking community, because obviously it’s not the case.”
The last increase in price of the Tunisian beer brand Celtia occurred last year, as the price per 250 milliliter bottle jumped from 1.100 to 1.370 Tunisian millimes ($0.88).