The media often published articles on beer with common issues such as beer smuggling, counterfeit beer and alcohol poisoning.
However, on July 14, beer made headlines in the media for another reason. It was due to the introduction of Heineken 0.0 on the local shelves.
Heineken 0.0 is a non-alcoholic beer which is being advertised with the tagline “Now You Can”. Hence, Muslim leaders and agencies expressed their concerns over the beverage as it could spark a public confusion, especially among the Muslim community.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Mujahid Rawa lambasted the company for using misleading labels on Heineken 0.0, which could lead Muslims to purchase the beverage mistakenly.
Mujahid added that the label on the non-alcoholic beverage is also vague on its consumption status.
He described the packaging of Heineken 0.0 as irresponsible because the process involved in producing the beverage is like producing other alcoholic drinks, hence it is considered as ‘haram’ (forbidden) in Islamic teachings.
The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) stressed out a similar concern on the beverage, stating that Muslims are prohibited from consuming Heineken 0.0 due to its manufacturing process.
In response, Heineken Malaysia Berhad made a media statement to clarify that the non-alcoholic beer is non-Halal; targeting only non-Muslims aged 21 and above.
The company also took time to explain its “Now You Can” campaign tagline which led to a controversial debate on social media. According to Heineken, the tagline refers to the versatility of the beer as it can be consumed at work, gym or even while driving due to being free from alcohol.
Heineken 0.0 was first announced by the beer company on June 21. Then, it was reported that the beverage will be available in the Malaysian market in July and it is non-Halal.