Known for its distinct flavor, root beer has joined the list of the world’s most popular beverages. But the debate on whether it’s halal has been on for years!
So, is root beer halal? This sweet drink might be deemed permissible or haram in Islam, depending on its ingredients.
This blog explores the halal status of various types of root beers and sheds light on whether Muslims should drink these beverages. Let’s get the ball rolling, shall we?
What Is Root Beer?
Root Beer is a refreshingly sweet carbonated drink from the sassafras plant’s roots. The beverage’s tangy flavor and distinct aroma set it apart from other sodas, though it varies depending on the specific herbs used.
Typically, homemade root beer is usually brewed with natural ingredients like:
- Sassafras roots and bark
- Filtered water
The Native Americans initially made root beer by boiling tree roots in water to produce a homemade medicine or health tonic.
As years passed, the sugary drink evolved into the modern-day soft drink we all know. Depending on the manufacturer, it usually contains carbonated water, sucrose syrup derived from beets or cane sugar, and natural flavors like vanilla extract, molasses, or honey.
Is Root Beer Halal in Islam?
Root beer is an exclusively American beverage you can consume as liquid or frozen as popsicles. Islamic scholars have discussed its halal status for years, mainly because its sweet but slightly tangy flavor is associated with alcoholic drinks.
Well, here’s the good news—present-day root beer is non-alcoholic, making it halal!
But despite root beer’s halal status, check its ingredients list before consumption to confirm it lacks any intoxicating substances like ethanol. If it does, then it’s unsuitable for consumption by Muslims.
Is Root Beer Alcoholic or Non-Alcoholic?
Root beer is typically a sweet, carbonated beverage made from a combination of sassafras bark, wintergreen leaves, and other flavorings. Because it doesn’t contain any alcohol, it is deemed a non-alcoholic beverage.
However, some varieties of root beer contain small amounts of alcohol, usually derived from fermentation or distillation processes.
Generally, the amount of ethanol (or “grain alcohol”) in complex root beers is determined using Alcohol By Volume (ABV) tests, just like wine or beer. If the ABV result exceeds 0.5%, the drink must be labeled as an ‘alcoholic beverage’ instead of a ‘soft drink’ because the alcohol content is enough to intoxicate consumers.
Is A&W Root Beer Halal?
The rich, creamy A&W Root Beer contains no alcohol, so it’s safe to say it’s permissible or halal.
However, some Muslims argue the beverage could contain some alcohol, making it a subject of discussion on many online and offline forums. After all, Islam has stringent rules that consider even trace amounts of alcohol haram. Therefore, they frown upon any drink whose alcoholic content is above 0%.
Notably, A&W Root Beer contains no other haram ingredients, such as pork or animal gelatin.
Is Mug Root Beer Halal?
Most Islamic scholars and beer enthusiasts are conflicted about the halal status of Mug Root Beer. While some consider it permissible, others argue it’s haram, claiming it might contain some alcohol.
The best way to determine the halal status of Mug Root Beer is to analyze its ingredients. Usually, these include:
- Carbonated water
- Corn syrup
- Caramel color
- Citric acid
- Quillaia extract
- Natural and artificial flavor
While no haram substances like pork or alcohol are used to manufacture Mug Root Beer, it’s still unclear if the lacto-fermentation involved in the manufacturing process produces trace amounts of alcohol.
Regrettably, the research on the topic is limited, and some people still maintain that Mug Root Beer has 0.5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV). Supposing they’re right, that alcohol content doesn’t intoxicate consumers, meaning the drink is still halal.
Is Bundaberg Root Beer Halal?
Bundaberg Root Beer is a non-alcoholic beverage considered halal and ideal for consumption by Muslims.
But despite Bundaberg Root Beer’s halal status, it doesn’t have any certifications from mainstream Islamic organizations or rabbinic authorities confirming its permissible under Islamic law.
Unfortunately, the skepticism over Bundaberg’s halal status may increase because its name has the term “beer,” which most alcoholic drinks bear.
FAQs on Root Beer
Is traditional root beer halal?
Traditional root beer brewed with extract of the sassafras tree and other natural ingredients is typically considered halal, so those following Muslim dietary laws can enjoy it.
What are the main ingredients in traditional root beer?
The primary ingredients to brew most traditional root beers are the sassafras tree’s bark extract, birch oil, molasses or honey, sugar spices, and rye or oats to add flavor.
However, most commercial brands use artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and acesulfame potassium instead of real sugarcane syrup or honey.
Are all varieties of root beer considered halal?
No. Some varieties of root beer may contain alcohol, making them haram. Therefore, Muslims should carefully read the beverages’ before purchasing.
It’s also worth noting that some companies manufacture root beers and label them ‘alcohol-free’ despite the products containing trace amounts of alcohol.
Are there any similar-tasting alternatives to root beers with small amounts of alcohol?
The market is full of sodas with tastes similar to “root beer flavors.” Hence, Muslims can drink them without compromising their religious beliefs. A great example is ginger ale, available at many stores worldwide.
Root Beer is Halal!
If you were wondering whether you should enjoy root beer, you now have the green light! This distinctively sweet beverage is halal and ideal for tantalizing your taste buds whenever you want.
From its rich, foamy texture to its delightful flavors, it’s precisely what you should sip on the next sunny picnic day or lively gathering with your loved ones.
Embrace the joy of this fizzy delight without hesitation, and let the unique combination of herbs, spices, and natural ingredients transport you to a world of delightful flavors. With root beer, you can raise your glass high and agree that halal options are diverse and delicious!