Riham's Blog

“Non Alcoholic Spirits”

What's wrong with this picture?

This was something I saw and took a picture of when I was in Jeddah last week.
Many people have already seen this or heard of “Saudi Champagne”. I have too, but it isn’t until recently that I saw it on a menu at a restaurant, or seen “red wine” or “white wine” around Saudi Arabia.
The terminology they are using is very surprising and interesting at the same time; “Non alcoholic spirits” along with the names of the actual alcoholic drinks.

I stay in Saudi Arabia country for a few weeks a year, which used to be months, and I am aware of the fact that the “real stuff” could be available to those who look in the right places. But publicly, everyone knows that alcohol is not allowed in Saudi Arabia, that they follow Islamic law which states that alcohol should not be consumed. So why call those drinks “wine” and “champagne” to begin with? I understand beer, but wine and champagne are somewhat different from those drinks offered. So why not just call them for what they are, some sort of juice and some other ingredients?

My over thought out and analyzed theory is that since everything that is forbidden is usually desired, calling this simple beverage “wine” or “champagne” will make it more popular, as consumers will feel that they are drinking something similar to what is forbidden. Another theory I have is that by calling them these names, it makes alcohol less “forbidden”, seeing as examples of alcoholic drinks are available in the country, but adapted to their cultural norms.

However, here is what probably happened: Some company was trying to come up with a new drink to put in the market. The result was a dark red liquid. Someone joked saying “Oooh.. it looks like wine!” Looks were shared, a light bulb lit above their heads, and the rest was history.


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  1. Tweets that mention “Non Alcoholic Spirits” « Riham's Blog -- Topsy.com pingbacked on 7 years, 8 months ago


  1. * Mich says:

    Your theories both hold… looool 🙂

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago
  2. * Danielle says:

    What? This is insanity! What hypocrisy, I swear.. I don’t get people sometimes!

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 8 months ago

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