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How Qatar Is Handling a Year’s Worth of Boozing in Four Weeks

When even alcohol advertising is illegal, how do you prepare a country for the booziest event in its history?

Specially branded beer bottles, like these prepared for the World Cup in Russia, will start to be seen in Qatar as Anheuser-Busch InBev products fill commercial kegs and appear in private residences around the country.

Specially branded beer bottles, like these prepared for the World Cup in Russia, will start to be seen in Qatar as Anheuser-Busch InBev products fill commercial kegs and appear in private residences around the country.

Photographer: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images 

The King of Beers is taking over Qatar.

The signs started appearing early this year: At the Qatar Distribution Company — the only alcohol retailer in the conservative Muslim country — a massive poster with Budweiser branding featuring Lionel Messi was plastered across the entrance. Then more of Doha’s bars and restaurants started offering Budweiser on tap, a new choice in a city of Heineken draughts.