PETALING JAYA: Heineken Malaysia Bhd has reiterated that the sale of its new non-alcoholic malt beverage, Heineken 0.0, is aimed at non-Muslims only.
It clarified that the beverage was non-halal and only targeted for non-Muslims aged 21 and above, as mentioned during their product launch and in previous media reports.
“All Heineken 0.0 products are only available at the non-halal zone of supermarkets and convenience stores, with clear signage indicating that it is strictly for non-Muslims, aged 21 and above only.
“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 in a statement.
The beverage, said the company, was for non-Muslim consumers who wished to moderate their alcohol consumption.
“The purpose for introducing Heineken 0.0 in Malaysia 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 seeking to moderate their alcohol consumption as part of a balanced lifestyle,” it added.
It said this in response to complaints, including by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof (pic), for beer manufacturers in the country not to confuse consumers, especially Muslims, by producing alcohol-free drinks.
Bernama reported that Mujahid had told reporters during a function in Parit Buntar that the alcohol-free beer was only confusing Muslims and not a wise move as the process of producing the drink included distillation carried out in a system used to produce alcoholic products.
He also advised Muslims not to consume any product if they were doubtful of its halal status.
Jakim had also uploaded information on its Facebook, saying that the drink was made from the same process as alcoholic drinks and Muslims were prohibited from taking the drink – regardless if it had alcohol or not.
Heineken Malaysia said its “Now You Can” tagline for the Heineken 0.0 referred to the various new occasions that the drink could allow non-Muslim consumers to enjoy a beer, including lunch and work meetings or while driving.
“Our 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 said.
The company said it was “culturally sensitive” in its operations, adding that all its marketing materials had visible disclaimers that Heineken 0.0 was strictly for non-Muslims aged 21 and above only.