‘Non-alcoholic 0.0 beer’ only for non-Muslims above 21, says Heineken

Heineken says the non-alcoholic drink is also aimed at beer drinkers seeking to moderate their alcohol consumption ‘as part of a balanced lifestyle’. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: Heineken Malaysia Berhad has clarified that the sale of its new non-alcoholic malt beverage, Heineken 0.0, is aimed only at non-Muslims.

This comes after the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) yesterday issued a statement stating that the soft drink was made from the same process of making alcoholic drinks and Muslims are prohibited from taking the drink.

“All Heineken 0.0 products are only available at the non-halal zone of supermarkets and convenience stores, with clear signage indicating that the product is strictly for non-Muslims, aged 21 and above only.

“In addition, for stores without designated non-halal areas, we are placing clear signs to inform consumers that Heineken 0.0 is strictly for non-Muslims, aged 21 and above,” Heineken said in a statement.

It said the purpose of introducing Heineken 0.0 in Malaysia is to provide a choice for non-Muslim consumers to enjoy the taste of beer but without the effects of alcohol.

It is also aimed at beer drinkers seeking to moderate their alcohol consumption as part of a balanced lifestyle.

It also said the “Now You Can” tagline attached to Heineken 0.0 refers to the various new occasions that the drink can allow non-Muslim consumers to enjoy a beer, including at lunch, work meetings or even when driving.

It stated their advertising materials on social media educate non-Muslim consumers about the “Now You Can” occasions.

“As a responsible and progressive brewer, Heineken Malaysia is committed to advocating responsible consumption and we believe Heineken 0.0 has an important role to play in this regard,” it added.

The company further said that it is “culturally sensitive” in its operations and that all its marketing materials had visible disclaimers that Heineken 0.0 is strictly for non-Muslims aged 21 and above.

Earlier today, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof said beer manufacturers in the country had been told not to confuse consumers, especially Muslims, by producing an alcohol-free drink.

“Using the name alcohol-free beer is confusing as the process of producing the drink, including distillation, is carried out in the same system used to produce alcoholic products.

“We know the alcohol-free drink is produced by a beer manufacturer but it would cause confusion as some Muslims may think they can consume the drink,” he was reported in saying by Bernama after attending a prayer session for 207 haj pilgrims in Parit Buntar today.

Mujahid further advised Muslims not to consume any products if they were doubtful of their halal status.