Booze-free beer industry soars in Middle East

on 07/08/13 at 8:33 am

Industry

indexFake booze market has become big business in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates where alcohol is forbidden.

Alcohol-free beer has become big business in the Middle East, where the predominantly young and fashionable set is turning to fake booze in their desire to be a part of the glamorized image of free and frolicking revelers.

The Middle East accounts for nearly one-third of worldwide sales in non-alcoholic booze, reports The Economist. The biggest markets include Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, home to Muslim Arabs for whom alcohol is forbidden.

In 2012, consumption soared 80 percent compared to five years ago, with teetotalers tipping back 2.2 billion liters, according to figures from Euromonitor, a global market research firm.

Some of the big players in the booze-free industry include Delster, an Iranian brand brewed by Behnoush that’s made with malt and hops to simulate the taste of beer and comes in flavors like lemon, peach and pineapple.