Boosting Balinese Booze
Customs and Excise Office Cooperates to Bring Balinese Arak on to the Mainstream Alcohol Beverage Market
The Customs and Excise Office for Bali, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) in cooperation with the Provincial Government of Bali have given a “green light” on the continuing efforts to legalize “Arak” – the locally brewed traditional alcoholic beverage of Bali.
As reported by Beritabali.com, Bali Governor Wayan Koster has publicly declared his intent to bring Balinese “arak” - a local alcohol drink distilled from rice or palm flowers into the mainstream range of alcoholic beverages for consumption both in Bali and abroad. In doing so, the Governor is aiming to improve the welfare of Balinese farmers.
A Custom’s official, Sulaiman, told a press conference on Tuesday, November 26, 2019, “Our main aim together with the provincial government is to improve the welfare of indigenous farmers while elevating arak Bali in the way local 'arak' is celebrated in other countries, such a Soju.”
To this end, Customs and Excise officials and the Provincial Government of Bali are cooperating in socializing the popularization of arak to the general public and have made more than 10 trips to the Regencies of Karangasem and Buleleng.
Custom officers have explained that on the average arak made in Bali has ethanol content exceeding 20%, which means, that in accordance with current rules, should incur an excise tax of Rp. 80,000 per liter. Custom officials are working to impose the applicable tax at the factory where the arak is produced.
Sulaiman said that farmers are being encouraged to form cooperatives with their produce jointly sold to the production factories. It is hoped that farmers will enjoy profits from producing arak that are equal to twice the minimum wage for the Regency.
In Karangasem, officials estimate there are 1,200 distilling farmers who will benefit from the program that hopes to sell arak to visiting tourists and eventual export markets in Australia, Japan, and Vietnam.
The Government’s involvement in the formal distribution process will ensure that Balinese Arak bearing a government excise seal is safe for public consumption.