Sales of non-alcoholic beer booming in Middle East

The Economist has reported that in the declining alcoholic market for beer, one niche has seen booming sales, and that is of non alcoholic (commonly known as low alcoholic) beer.

The article goes on to say;

The Middle East now accounts for almost a third of the worldwide sales by volume of non-alcoholic beer. In 2012 Iranians drank nearly four times as much of it as they did in 2007. It is popular in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where alcohol is either wholly or partially banned. Partly this is for religious reasons. After Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist movement, won a landslide election victory in Gaza in 2005, a local brewer launched an alcohol-free “halal” version of its beer. But it also taps into growing consumer aspirations. As a statement of a globalised lifestyle beer, even if non-alcoholic, may be more potent than Coca-Cola. Non-alcoholic lager is slowly being drunk more in bars and restaurants, rather than just being consumed at home. Prominent Saudi and Egyptian clerics have issued fatwas declaring it permissible to drink zero-alcohol beer.

We must remember that there is no such thing as “non-alcoholic” beer. It is low-alcohol bear and Islam forbids consumption of alcohol. The Holy Quran does not say you can drink something with a little bit of alcohol in it. There was a low alcohol drink available at the time of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) but this was also banned.

The point to remember is that by using the so called non-alcohol beer people will become used to the taste of it. If someone were then to give them normal beer they will not be able to tell the difference and drink that as well. Also, by drinking such drinks the mental barriers and the psychological dislike will be broken down and the chances of moving to the ‘real’ stuff will increase. This is no different to people starting on soft drugs and then gradually moving on to harder ones.

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