KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 — Heineken Malaysia clarified that it was only targeting non-Muslims aged 21 and above for its non-alcoholic lager that is touted as a healthier alternative.
The Malaysian chapter of the global brewer stressed that Heineken 0.0 was non-halal, after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa reportedly said alcohol-free beer was confusing to Muslims.
“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 who seek to moderate their alcohol consumption as part of a balanced lifestyle,” Heineken Malaysia said in a statement.
It added that its “Now You Can” tagline for its non-alcoholic malt beverage, Heineken 0.0, referred to various occasions that non-Muslims could enjoy a beer, like at work meetings, after the gym, and before driving a vehicle.
“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 signages to inform consumers that Heineken 0.0 is strictly for non-Muslims, aged 21 and above,” said Heineken Malaysia.
Former prime minister Najib Razak recently posted a photograph of a stack of Heineken 0.0 bottles, which have a blue label replacing the brand’s distinctive green one to associate it with the alcohol-free category, next to a shelf of soft drinks.
“Brother, brother, how like this?” Najib wrote, using the word “kanda” in Malay to mockingly refer to Mujahid.
According to Heineken, Heineken 0.0 is brewed from scratch using “only natural ingredients”, with “a perfectly balanced taste with refreshing fruity notes and a soft malty body”. Alcohol is removed in the brewing process.
“Heineken 0.0 gives consumers choice for a variety of drinking occasions, and contributes to the growing cultural trend around the importance of living a balanced, healthy lifestyle,” said Heineken on its global website.
Heineken 0.0 only has 53 calories in a 250ml bottle.