SWA investigates non-alcoholic ‘whisky’ ArKay

Jan 14, 2019by Melita Kiely

Governing body the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is investigating alcohol-free beverage ArKay, arguing the brand’s claims of being an “alcohol-free whisky” are “illegal”.

US company ArKay first launched in 2014 with its “alcohol-free whisky”, which is also Halal-certified. It has since been followed by numerous additional expressions, including a ‘vodka’, ‘rum’ and ‘gin’. However, the SWA took to Twitter on Friday (11 January) to highlight that “by law, whisky must be at least 40% abv”. “As a result, it is not possible to sell ‘alcohol-free whisky’,” the tweet continued. “The SWA will be investigating this.” A spokesperson for the SWA said: “The product as labelled is illegal under EU law. By law, whisky must be at least 40% abv. “It is not permissible to use the description ‘whisky’ with other words such as ‘alcohol-free’. “Any link to whisky could mislead consumers and damage the reputation of the whisky category. The SWA will conduct further investigations and take appropriate action as necessary.” The Spirits Business has approached ArKay for comment. Non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ have become a burgeoning trend in the drinks world, spearheaded by category leader Seedlip. Last month, Seedlip revealed a new apéritif brand, which is thought to be the world’s first non-alcoholic apéritif range. Other non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ brands that have launched over the past year include Ceder’s, Stryyk and Fluère. As alcohol-free ‘spirits’ create a buzz in the industry, SB explored whether the category now needs greater transparency.