Halal Beer? In the Bag

1 minute read

Selling alcohol to Muslims doesn’t sound like a smart proposition. Never mind beer granules. Yet Gerhard Kamil, 45, is taking aim at the 53 million-gallon Middle Eastern malt-beverage market with a new product: malt granules that become a foaming, nonalcoholic beer by adding water. The Bavarian brewer is wooing soft-drink bottlers from Iraq to Indonesia with his “PlatoTec” process, which makes tiny, layered granules of malt at about $2 per lb. Tapping the nonalcoholic halal-beer and flavored-malt-drink market positions GranMalt against Heineken’s Fayrouz in Egypt and Carlsberg’s Moussy in Saudi Arabia. But as consumption grows an estimated 6% annually over the next five years, exporting GranMalt gives Arab brewers an alternative to importing bottled beer or building a brewery, which is often met with political and cultural obstacles. Being nonalcoholic, it is not subject to the heavy tariffs of Muslim countries that allow imported alcohol, says Kamil. –By Coco Masters

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com