Och noo! It’s alcohol-free whisky!

Miami company, ArKay Beverages, has launched what it claims as the first alcohol-free whisky to the world. ArKay will be available in stores worldwide on December 1st. Not everyone is happy…

ArKay, says the company press release, is a whisky-flavoured drink is designed for everyone to enjoy.

Goes the PR spiel: “The exceptional taste of whisky without the alcohol content makes it a perfect beverage day or night. ArKay has 0% alcohol and it is designed to allow individuals with medical conditions or with religious beliefs that prohibit alcohol consumption, to drink. Imagine being able to enjoy your favourite whisky drink at parties without worrying about drinking and driving. You won’t miss a thing, as ArKay tastes and looks exactly like traditional whisky. It is suitable for drinking straight-up, on the rocks, or with your favourite mixers.”

ArKay, it adds, is made with artificial flavours and ingredients in accordance with European Economic Community (EEC) regulations and within the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. Both the flavour and ingredients are strictly conformed to Halal guidelines.

ArKay can be purchased in a one litre glass bottle and in a recyclable aluminum 355ml can. The US suggested retail price is $10 for one litre and $4 for a single can.

Scotch Whisky Association in uproar!

The product, meanwhile, has been branded “illegal” by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). It says there can be no such product and that such a description is illegal in the European Union and many other countries.

According to the industry body, whisky is understood around the world to be a distilled beverage made from cereals and aged in wooden barrels.

It claims that ArKay’s description of the product as a type of whisky is illegal under UK and European law, as well as in other jurisdictions.

In the EU there are strict laws in force defining what may be sold as whisky. European law prohibits the name “whisky” from being “used to describe or present in any way whatsoever” any drink other than whisky.

Glen Barclay, director of legal affairs at the SWA, said: “Such promotion is taking advantage of the high quality reputation of the product that is whisky, which is a distilled spirit produced from natural ingredients, when it is in fact just a soft drink with artificial flavourings.

“Not only will consumers be confused, but such a product unfairly trades on the reputation of genuine whisky.”