“A truck carrying what first seemed to be normal cans of the soft drink Pepsi was stopped and after the standard process of searching the products, it became clear that the alcoholic beers were covered with Pepsi’s sticker logos,” Al Batha border General Manager Abdulrahman al-Mahna was quoted as saying, according to Al Arabiya News.
Video shared by the Saudi customs agency shows just how convincing the disguises were.
This isn't the first time smugglers have gone to inventive measures to get alcohol into Saudi Arabia. Just a couple of months ago, a Saudi man was caught on the border with Bahrain with 12 bottles of liquor sewed into his trousers, and Saudi authorities recently said they found more than 19,000 bottles of alcoholic drinks hidden in a shipment of rice and tomato paste.
As silly as that sounds, the punishment for smuggling alcohol can be severe. Saudi citizens – and sometimes foreigners, too – can be sentenced to prison and floggings if they are caught.
The World Health Organization estimates that the rate of alcohol consumption per capita in Saudi Arabia is 0.2 liters per adult, one of the lowest in the world. However, given that almost all of this drinking happens illicitly, this estimate may be inaccurate.