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Untangling The ‘Halal Liquor’ Controversy

Teenagers in Indonesia are raving about halal liquor after the emergence of halal soju. Nevertheless, halal liquor is nothing new. Halal wine is the first halal liquor introduced in Indonesia in November 2016. Unfortunately, it became unpopular. Initially, the Espora Zero Alcohol brand was produce to meet market demand in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Then, it expanded to Southeast Asia countries, such as Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

South Korean dramas set off the creation of Halal soju in Indonesia. Halal soju makers caught the urge to try soju from Indonesian Muslims. Thus, it becomes a business opportunity for halal soju producers. These halal liquors do not go through the fermentation process like Korean soju. They are made from sparkling water and fruit flavors. In addition, halal soju producers add other natural and halal ingredients to make it feel warm when you drink it.

Hence, is halal liquors classified as halal? How do we analyze the alcohol content in a beverage?

Check out the explanation below.

Does Non Alcohol Liquor be Halal?

Halal liquor companies claim that they do not use non-halal substances. Besides, the manufacturing process does not involve fermentation. Thus, no alcohol formation. However, a few Indonesian people question the halalness of these products because they are not halal-certified.

In Islam, the halal status of beverages is written in the Sahih Muslim, Abu Dawud, and At-Tirmidh. Sahih Muslim stated, ‘Anything that intoxicates is khamr, and anything that makes you lose consciousness is haram.’ In line with that, Sahih Abu Dawud and Sahih At-Tirmidhi said, ‘Something (beverages) that can be intoxicating in large quantities, then even a little bit is haram.’

Determining the Existence of Alcohol in Beverages

Even though non alcohol liquor companies claim their products do not go through a fermentation process, testing is still needed to ensure the composition of the ingredients. In addition, testing aims to determine the ingredient composition on the label. We can test the liquor by looking at the ethanol compound. Ethanol is a substance or by-product of the fermentation process.

We can choose several methods for analyzing ethanol, such as the non-chromatography method (enzymatic assays, distillation technique followed by a densitometer) and GC-FID. However, these methods have weaknesses. For example, sample preparation with the distillation process takes ± 1 hour. In addition, the samples studied were limited to liquid samples and required a lot of energy.

Therefore, the GC-MS static headspace analysis method is more effective than the methods above. Headspace GC-MS can analyze liquid or solid samples, such as ice cream, sauces, powders, etc. Plus, there is no need for a distillation process for sample preparation. The static headspace works based on analyte partitioning between the sample and the headspace vapor in closed vials. The partition coefficient, constant, and proportionality with the analyte concentration in the sample must be under equilibrium conditions.

According to Sours and Bezabeh’s journal, the GC-MS method has proven to be a suitable substitute for the distillation/densitometer method. This method increases throughput and sensitivity for the analysis of halal liquor.

Read more similar articles regarding halal testing!

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