Heineken says new non-alcoholic malt beverage only meant for non-Muslims

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 14): Heineken Malaysia Bhd has clarified that its new non-alcoholic malt beverage, Heineken 0.0, is only targeted at non-Muslim adults.

The brewer also said this has been mentioned during a press conference at its product launch, as well as in previous news reports regarding the new offering.

“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,” Heineken said in a statement on Saturday.

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

The purpose of introducing Heineken 0.0 in Malaysia, it added, is to provide a choice for non-Muslim consumers who enjoy the taste of beer but not necessarily the effects of alcohol, particularly beer drinkers who seek to moderate their alcohol consumption as part of a balanced lifestyle.

As for the ‘Now You Can’ tagline it uses to promote the new product, Heineken said it refers to the various new occasions that Heineken 0.0 allows non-Muslim consumers to enjoy a beer, including at lunch, during work meetings, after the gym, and when one needs to drive.

“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,” Heineken said.

Stressing that it is “culturally sensitive” in its business operations, Heineken added that all its marketing materials and press advertisements carry visible disclaimers that Heineken 0.0 is strictly for non-Muslim adults.

Earlier today, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof said beer manufacturers in the country have been told not to confuse consumers especially Muslims by producing 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 system used to produce alcohol products.

"We know the alcohol-free drink is produced by a beer manufacturer but it would cause confusion as some Muslims thought they could consume the drink,” he was reported as saying by Bernama after an event in Parit Buntar. He was commenting on a viral promotion of zero-alcohol beer by a beer manufacturer at a convenient store.