‘I used to be shocked’: alcohol-free drinks create conundrum for younger Muslims | Australian way of life

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When 20-year-old Hibah Dannaoui began working as a waitress, she was shocked to find a brand new class of drinks: non-alcoholic drinks that are supposed to imitate the style of alcohol. A practising Muslim, Dannaoui has by no means consumed alcohol.

“I used to be truly shocked and didn’t perceive the idea behind it, since they’ll make a standard drink,” she says. “I didn’t eat it and won’t, since I’m a Muslim.”

She says she is sceptical that these drinks might keep away from contamination with alcohol. “I’d reasonably keep away from these ‘non-alcoholic’ beers. Even naming it’s uncomfortable for me.”

Based on the Centre for Alcohol Coverage Analysis at La Trobe College, the variety of 18-24-year-old Australians who don’t drink has doubled up to now 20 years.

Given this, it’s maybe not shocking that the expansion of the non-alcoholic drinks class outpaced that of alcoholic drinks, with the IWSR Drinks Market Evaluation exhibiting the quantity of low- and no-alcohol drinks rising by 2.9% in 2020, whereas common alcohol skilled a slight quantity decline.

Each month is “dry July’’ for Muslims. Nonetheless, reasonably than rising their choices, the rise of zero-alcohol drinks created a conundrum for a lot of younger Muslims.

Based on Meals Requirements Australia, manufacturers can label their merchandise as “non-alcoholic’’ with something lower than 0.5% alcohol by quantity.

However whereas drinks with 0.5% alcohol could also be labelled non-intoxicating by Meals Requirements Australia New Zealand, Islam, like many different religions, has stricter guidelines for foods and drinks consumption. Bushra Nasir from Muslims Down Beneath explains: “The holy Qur’an describes totally different classes of meals, and alcohol falls below the class which is prohibited as a result of it’s dangerous to the physique, and that which is dangerous to the physique is dangerous to the spirit.”

Thus, a drink that has 0.5% of alcohol shouldn’t be halal – lawful or permissible. It might be like cooking your meat in a pan that has simply been used to arrange pork.

Whereas well-liked amongst many Australians who’re reducing down on their alcohol consumption, zero-alcohol beer, wines and spirits are not often marketed for individuals who have by no means drunk earlier than.

Noura Hijazi, a 19-year-old Muslim, says: “I’ve truly by no means heard of non-alcoholic alcohol till now. I solely recall drinks like ginger beer …

“I wouldn’t actually wish to strive it, first as a result of there isn’t a assure that it might be 100% alcohol-free, but additionally as a result of I’d discover it somewhat bizarre.’’

Many non-alcoholic manufacturers have seen this untapped market, and have begun making an attempt to get halal certification for his or her drinks.

On-line alcohol-free drink retailer Craftzero does carry some halal choices. Nonetheless, out of the 200-odd drinks it sells, solely 14 are halal licensed.

Sherif Goubran, director and co-founder of the shop, says “these wines have been very talked-about … Though they’re licensed Halal, they’ve been consumed by non-halal patrons alike.”

When requested if he believes Muslims could be apprehensive about this type of drink, he says, “there are nonetheless so many individuals on the market that aren’t conscious of those merchandise and their availability. I imagine as soon as they be taught and perceive extra about these merchandise, they are going to develop into extra inclined to strive them and revel in them.”

There are a number of strategies for making non-alcoholic drinks. One of the widespread is thru “ethanol distillation’’, whereby alcohol that’s shaped throughout a drink’s fermentation course of is boiled away. Different methods to take away alcohol from alcoholic drinks contains reverse osmosis, the place alcohol is pumped out with water. Processes corresponding to this are usually not thought-about halal.

Monday Distillery, a Melbourne-based zero-alcohol drinks producer, says it’s within the early phases of investigating halal certification. Co-founder Haydn Farley says “we’re working with a distribution associate who’s importing our merchandise to Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Off the again of this, we’re wanting so as to add halal certification as a part of that enlargement.”

Sydney-based Seadrift, which distils non-alcoholic spirits, says halal certification “is subsequent on the record” for its enterprise.

Seadrift founder Carolyn Whiteley says “we’ve got designed our distillation course of to fastidiously contemplate the wants of all customers, significantly those that don’t need any alcohol within the course of”.

Whiteley says that creating a producing course of that doesn’t contain fermentation in any respect, and is thus extra more likely to enable certification, “was a profit to us anyway, as a result of we wished one thing that was extraordinarily low in sugar”.

Whiteley views the rise of zero-alcohol choices corresponding to hers as “actually encouraging a really constructive shift”.

“There’s so many fabulous choices approaching to the market that basically are offering an enormous quantity of alternate options for therefore many individuals.”

She says this feeds into “the concept you don’t should be ingesting, it’s turning into way more socially acceptable. And really, that social acceptance is what’s going to have a large influence on society. And that, you understand, is a very constructive factor that we are able to change.”

However for Hijazi the necessity for another in any respect looks as if one other facet of the identical coin. “I really feel just like the ingesting tradition is one thing I wouldn’t actually wish to take part in,” she says. “Even when it might be alcohol-free.”

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Written by bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.


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