A “halal” copycat of a classic alcoholic drink made by a US-based company is expected to hit British supermarkets next month.
An alcohol-free whiskey, produced by Florida-based ArKay will sell for a little less than £10 a bottle, much to the dismay of the Scotch Whisky Association, which labelled the product in 2011 as an effort to capitalise on the drink’s reputation.
However, the company welcomed the criticism, claiming that the association had tried to stop them but failed.
Sylvie Grattagliano, president of the company said: “The mistake they made is that ArKay is a soft drink and the Scotch whisky association does not have any jurisdiction over soft drinks, they can only oversee the liquor makers, and not the soft drink makers.”
The company has produced at least 13 non-alcohol renditions of famous liquors such as limoncello, tequila, rum and gin.
However, the whiskey has gained special attention due to the drink’s iconic status in the UK.
“We are not pretending to make real Whisky or real Scotch,” Mr Grattagliano said.
He added: “ArkAy’s philosophy is to help millions of peoples with a drinking problem to get away from liquors.”
Talha Ahmad, a member of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said people may welcome the product, “especially Muslims who drink who might see it a way of maintaining a drinking habit without having to drink alcoholic drinks.”
However, he insisted that he does not think “it makes a difference…those who don’t drink whisky would not suddenly want to drink whiskey, whether it’s halal or not.”
The drink is being marketed not only as a “halal” alternative, but the company also aims to reach those who simply (cannot or do not want to) drink for any reason.
Mr Grattagliano emphasised that his company aims to reach those who do not want to drink and drive.
He explained that bars offering non-alcoholic drinks that taste like the classics would decrease the risk of an accident as the designated driver for a night out would still be able to enjoy a few drinks.