Heineken Malaysia has clarified that its non-alcoholic malt beverage, Heineken 0.0, is non-Halal and only targeted at non-Muslims aged 21 years old and above. The company added that this was mentioned during its product launch press conference in June and in previous news reports.
According to Heineken, 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. For stores without designated non-Halal areas, it is also displaying clear signages to inform consumers that Heineken 0.0 is strictly for non-Muslims of the age requirement. It added:
All our marketing materials and press advertisements carry visible disclaimers that Heineken 0.0 is strictly for non-Muslims aged 21 and above only.
“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,” Heineken explained. In particular, this is for beer drinkers who seek to moderate their alcohol consumption as part of a balanced lifestyle. Meanwhile, its “Now You Can” tagline 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.
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,” the company said.
“We also wish to reiterate that Heineken Malaysia is a company that is culturally sensitive in the way that we operate our business.”
The clarification comes after Mujahid Yusof, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said beer manufacturers should not “confuse consumers especially Muslims” by creating non-alcoholic drinks. According to The Star, Mujahid said this might lead to some Muslims assuming that they can consume the non-alcoholic beverage.
This news also led to the Malaysian Islamic Development Department to clarify on Facebook that non-alcoholic malt beverages undergo the same process that is used to manufacture alcoholic drinks. Hence, Muslims are banned from consuming drinks made from the same system regardless of whether they are alcoholic or not.
Earlier this year, Heineken Malaysia named Pablo Chabot its marketing director to drive performance of its portfolio of beer, stout and cider brands in Malaysia. They include Heineken, Tiger, Guinness, Anchor, Apple Fox and Strongbow.
He takes over from Jiri Rakosnik. The company posted a 21% increase in group revenue from RM434 million last year to RM525 million for its first quarter ended 31 March 2019. This was mainly driven by higher sales volume from the effective execution of commercial campaigns during Chinese New Year this year, such as Tiger Beer’s Uncage New Beginnings campaign, nationwide activations of Guinness’ St. Patrick’s Festival and Heineken’s Live Your Music campaign.