Did you know the global ginger beer market was valued at $4.38 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a 7.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2022 and 2030?
Sweet and a little spicy, ginger beer has won the hearts of many who consider it comforting and good for their mental health.
However, Muslims are stuck in a dilemma, asking the same question—is ginger beer halal?
Well, let’s dive into the world of ginger beer to solve that puzzle. From what it is to its history and ingredients, we’ll cover every aspect of this beverage to determine whether it’s halal or haram. Let’s begin!
What Is Ginger Beer?
Ginger beer is a carbonated beverage with a spicy but sweet flavor. It was initially manufactured in England during the mid-18th century. Its refreshing taste and potential health benefits, such as increased brain levels and improved mental health, saw its popularity surge gradually.
Traditional ginger beer was alcoholic because making it involved fermentation. On the other hand, modern variations of this drink are carbonated, explaining why they’re non-alcoholic beverages.
Nevertheless, lore has it that sailors consumed ginger beer to stave off seasickness. Today, consumers enjoy it as a standalone refreshment and an essential mixer for popular cocktails such as Moscow Mules or Dark ‘n’ Stormy drinks.
Ingredients and Process
Ginger beer, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic, is crafted from a delicious assortment of base ingredients, which include:
- Ginger root
- Cane sugar
- Lemon juice or citric acid for tanginess
The ginger beer brewing process usually begins with making a ginger bug or using a traditional ginger beer plant—a fermented mixture of ginger root, sugar, and water combined with wild yeasts and lactic acid bacteria. This fermentation creates the carbonation and the distinct tangy flavor of classic ginger beers.
Typically, the desired level of fermentation is achieved within 3-7 days, depending on factors such as temperature and additional flavorings like lemon juice. Some modern manufacturers may include natural flavorings or preservatives during this step to extend the beverage’s shelf life or enhance its taste.
What Does It Mean To Be Halal?
Halal is an Arabic word that translates to “permissible” in English. Food and beverages considered halal comply with the guidelines in the Quran and other Islamic teachings.
For a food or beverage product to be deemed halal, it must adhere to the dietary laws of Islam. The ingredients used, production process, and even packaging methods must also be permissible in the latter. Examples of halal drinks are water, fruit juices, and milk.
The Quran forbids alcohol consumption and refers to intoxicants as “the work of Satan.” Therefore, any drink with intoxicating levels of alcohol is considered haram (prohibited) for Muslims.
Understanding whether ginger beer falls within these requirements involves examining its ingredients, creation process, and the amount of alcohol in the beverage.
Is Ginger Beer Halal?
Ginger beer is generally non-alcoholic, meaning it’s a halal beverage. However, some ginger beers may contain small traces of alcohol due to the fermentation process.
Nonetheless, the average alcohol content in ginger beer is less than 0.5% ABV, which falls within the FDA’s limit of what can be labeled a non-alcoholic beverage.
Some modern ginger beer brands have created non-alcoholic versions of their original recipes, making them safe for consumption by Muslims. Popular halal ginger beer brands include Bundaberg Ginger Beer and Schweppes Ginger Ale.
Alcoholic Ginger Beer and Halal Concerns
Islamic dietary laws prohibit Muslims from consuming alcohol. Therefore, many are curious about ginger beer’s halal status before enjoying the spicy and refreshing drink.
Alcoholic ginger beers contain higher levels of alcohol, sometimes up to 11% ABV. Since they’re intoxicating and go against Islamic principles of purity, they’re haram. Moreover, they can cause confusion or impairment, preventing consumers from making sound decisions regarding various aspects of their lives.
Again, some traditional ginger beers contain yeast and sugar, and their production processes involve fermentation. That results in an alcohol content level above 0.5%, making them haram.
How To Determine if a Ginger Beer Is Halal
The quickest way to know if a ginger beer is halal is to check its label and manufacturer information. Look out for the section specifying the beverage’s alcohol content. Also, ensure haram ingredients, such as gelatin, aren’t used as stabilizers.
Remember that some brands may include preservatives or artificial flavorings prohibited under Islamic dietary laws, including porcine ingredients or those derived from pork. Therefore, we recommend you choose ginger beers from reputable companies with transparent labeling practices to know all the ingredients used to manufacture the drinks.
Popular Halal Ginger Beer Brands
Here are some popular halal ginger beer brands that Muslims can enjoy:
- Bundaberg Ginger Beer: This halal Australian ginger beer brand is famous for its traditional brewing methods and use of real ginger root.
- Maine Root Ginger Brew: Made with organic ginger root, this halal American brand is a refreshing, spicy, non-alcoholic alternative to traditional soda.
- Regatta Ginger Beer: This Caribbean-style ginger beer has a bold and spicy flavor that pairs well with rum or as a standalone beverage. It is non-alcoholic and usually considered halal.
- Fentimans Ginger Beer: With a unique blend of botanical ingredients like yarrow extract, this British brand offers a complex flavor profile beyond just ginger. It’s safe for consumption by Muslims since it doesn’t contain alcohol.
- D&G Old Jamaica Ginger Beer: Popular in the UK and the Caribbean, this halal bold, sweet ginger beer is made with natural flavors and cane sugar.
- Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew: This halal American brand delivers an extra spicy kick with pure honey and lemon juice for lovers of intense ginger flavor.
- Grace Foods Gingernut Drink: This spiced carbonated drink infused with real ginger juice comes from Jamaica’s iconic Grace line of beverages. It contains no alcohol and is suitable for Muslim beer lovers.
- Belvoir Fruit Farms Ginger Beer: Using fresh root ginger from China, this halal UK brand offers an authentic taste that balances sweetness with spice.
FAQs on Ginger Beer
What should I look for when determining the halal status of ginger beer?
When assessing the halal status of ginger beer, consider the ingredients list. Watch out for non-halal ingredients like alcohol or pork-derived additives.
Are all ginger beers non-halal?
Only non-alcoholic ginger beer brands are halal. Alcoholic options whose alcohol content exceeds 0.5% ABV are haram.
Is homemade ginger beer halal?
The halal status of homemade ginger beer depends on the ingredients and preparation methods used. Homemade ginger beer is considered halal if the ingredients are halal and haram substances like porcine gelatine aren’t added during fermentation.
Final Take Ginger Beer Halal Status
As we’ve seen above, ginger beer is halal and safe for Muslims looking to enjoy a refreshing drink alone or with company.
Beware of alcoholic ginger beer brands, though. Some contain a high alcohol content that is intoxicating, meaning they’re haram.
Be that as it may, make sure to enjoy ginger beer at your convenience. With its impressive versatility, you can also use it to spice up cocktails like Moscow Mules!