In the early twentieth century, much of the impetus for the prohibition movement in the Nordic countries and North America came from Protestant wariness of alcohol.
The first half of the 20th century saw periods of prohibition of alcoholic beverages in several countries:
The Nordic countries, with the exception of Denmark, have had a long temperance tradition. Prohibition was enforced in Iceland from 1915 to 1922 (with beer prohibited until 1989), in Norway from 1916 to 1927 and in Finland between 1919 and 1932. Sweden enforced a rationing system (Brattsystemet or "motboken") between 1914 and 1955; a referendum in 1922 rejected total prohibition. Alcohol was still prohibited in the Faroe Islands until 1992. Nordic countries today, with the exception of Denmark, strictly control the sale of alcohol. There are government monopolies in place for selling liquors, wine and stronger beers to consumers, in Norway (Vinmonopolet), Sweden (Systembolaget), Iceland (Vínbúðin) and Finland (Alko). Corporations, like bars and restaurants, may import alcoholic beverages directly or through other companies. The temperance movement in Scandinavia (parts of which are affiliated with the International Organisation of Good Templars), which advocates strict government regulations concerning the consumption of alcohol, have seen a decline in membership numbers and activity during the past years but are now on the rise again, in example Swedish IOGT-NTO having a net gain of 12,500 members in 2005.
Saudi Arabia completely bans the production, importation or consumption of alcohol and imposes strict penalties on those violating the ban, including weeks to months of imprisonment, and possible lashes, as does Kuwait. During the Gulf War in 1991, the Coalition banned its troops in Saudi Arabia from drinking alcohol in order to show respect for local beliefs.
Qatar bans the importation of alcohol and it is a punishable offense to drink alcohol or be drunk in public. Offenders may incur a prison sentence or deportation. Alcohol is, however, available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system.
Iran began restricting alcohol consumption and production soon after the 1979 Revolution, with harsh penalties meted out for violations of the law. However, there is widespread violation of the law. Officially recognized non-Muslim minorities are allowed to produce alcoholic beverages for their own private consumption and for religious rites such as the Eucharist.
Alcohol was banned in Afghanistan during the rule of the Taliban. In the wake of the ousting from power of the Taliban, the ban was lifted for foreigners, who can buy alcohol in certain shops on presentation of their passport to prove they are foreigners.
Libya bans the import, sale and consumption of alcohol, with heavy penalties for offenders. Tunisia has a selective ban on alcohol products other than wine, with consumption and sale being allowed in special zones or bars "for tourists" and in big cities Wine, however, is widely available. Morocco prohibits the sale of alcohol during Ramadan
Sudan has banned all alcohol consumption and extends serious penalties to offenders.
Many other Arab or mainly Muslim countries such as Egypt and Turkey do not have any ban on alcohol and production as well as consumption are legal, under the provision that minors below the age of 18 cannot legally purchase alcoholic beverages. In Turkey the sale of alcoholic beverages was prohibited during general elections.
Pakistan allowed the free sale and consumption of alcohol for three decades from 1947, but restrictions were introduced by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto just weeks before he was removed as prime minister in 1977. Since then, only members of non-Muslim minorities such as Hindus, Christians and Zoroastrians are allowed to apply for permits for alcohol. The monthly quota depends on their income but is usually about five bottles of liquor or 100 bottles of beer. In a country of 140 million, only about 60 outlets are allowed to sell alcohol and there is only one legal brewery, Murree Brewery in Rawalpindi. Enforced by the country's Islamic Ideology Council, the ban is strictly policed. However, members of religious minorities often sell their liquor permits to Muslims and a black market trade in alcohol continues.
Bangladesh has also imposed prohibition, though some hotels and restaurants are licensed to sell alcohol to foreigners. Foreigners (but not locals) are allowed to import small quantities of alcohol for personal use.
The Maldives ban the import of alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are available only to foreign tourists on resort islands and may not be taken off the resort.
In Brunei alcohol consumption in public is banned and there is no sale of alcohol. Non-Muslims are allowed to purchase a limited amount of alcohol from their point of embarkation overseas for their own private consumption. Non-Muslims over 17 years of age may be allowed to bring in not more than two bottles of liquor (about two quarts) and twelve cans of beer per person into the country.
Alcohol is prohibited in many remote indigenous communities across Australia. Penalties for transporting alcohol into these "dry" communities are severe and can result in confiscation of any vehicles involved; in dry areas within the Northern Territory, all vehicles used to transport alcohol are seized and there is no right of appeal.
Because alcohol consumption has been known to lead to violence, some communities sought a safer alternative in substances such as kava, especially in the Northern Territory. Over-indulgence in kava causes sleepiness, rather than the violence that can result from over-indulgence in alcohol. These and other measures to counter alcohol abuse met with variable success, with some communities seeing decreased social problems and others reporting no decreases. The ANCD study notes that in order to be effective, programs in general need also to address "...the underlying structural determinants that have a significant impact on alcohol and drug misuse" (Op. cit., p.26). The Federal government banned kava imports into the Northern Territory in 2007.
There have been various places proclaimed alcohol free in the past, including Australia's capital city, Canberra, which was dry from 1910 to 1928. The American born politician King O'Malley ran this legislation through Federal Parliament in Melbourne at the time the capital territory was established. When Federal Parliament moved from Melbourne to Canberra in 1927, one of the first pieces of legislation passed in the new Parliament House was the repeal of O'Malley's prohibition laws.
A number of Melbourne's suburbs had a long running prohibition on the sale (though not consumption) of alcohol. One or two still exist, including the Camberwell region of Boroondara. Ascot Vale was founded as a dry suburb, but hotels were soon built at the outside corners of the settlement.
Similarly, the irrigation settlement of Mildura was also founded with a prohibition on the sale of alcohol in 1887. This was inaugurated by its founders, the Chaffey brothers. However, the brothers also operated a winery, even producing fortified wine. Alcohol was readily available from nearby Wentworth however, and the ban was eventually lifted.