Breweries keep using Hindu gods as beer names, but this group is not having it
By Barfi Culture Team
29th October 2018

A micro-brewery based in West Yorkshire, England, has withdrawn a beer it named after the Hindu deity Lord Ganesh, after complaints it was offensive.

Wishbone Brewery, which makes 'slow beer for discerning drinkers', said it had already made the decision to change the name months ago, before any Hindu group had decided to complain about it.

The company founder posted on a blog: "I've learned what Cultural Appropriation is and found out that Hinduism sounds like a pretty good religion with a lot of sensible, moderate attitudes in its teachings."

The company had brewed and named the beer in August 2018, and changed the name by the end of the month, after learning via Twitter that it may offend others.

But it wasn't until two months later (in late October) that the Universal Society of Hinduism sent out a press release urging the name change. By that time the name had long been changed.

The brewery's owner was a bit miffed at how the organisation reacted.

"It would have been polite if Mr Rajan Zed [from the Universal Society of Hinduism] had simply emailed or phoned us first then we could have explained that the name had been chosen in all innocence and no offence was meant to anyone, this would have saved him sending the rather sensationalized press release to multiple agencies and it would have been explained that we knew about the name by 26th Aug and had already stated we would change it."

This isn't the first time for a controversy around beer names and Hindu gods.

Last month the USH took aim at Tollgate Brewery, based in the East Midlands, England, for using an image of the goddess Kalika, also known as Kali.

"Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda is not OK as it hurts the devotees," said a spokesperson from the Universal Society of Hinduism.

That beer has also now been withdrawn.

The same group has called out other breweries in the past too.

Earlier this year, it called on an Italian company to withdraw its Ganesh IPA, it asked a Mexican brewery to remove its Cerveza Premium IPA Ganesh beer bottle, and a Texan brewery to discontinue its Shiva's Tears beer.

In 2014 it went after brewer AB InBev for calling a beer 'Brahma' and in 2013 got an Aussie beer company to stop using Lord Ganesh on its branding.

This story has been changed to reflect Wishbone Brewery's version of events.

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