Yorkshire brewery urged to apologise for naming beer after Hindu god Ganesh

Religious leader says deities should not be used in ‘selling beer for mercantile greed’

Friday 26 October 2018 14:54
Devotees carry an idol of the Hindu god Ganesh in Mumbai, India
Devotees carry an idol of the Hindu god Ganesh in Mumbai, India

A microbrewery has said it did not mean to offend Hindus by naming a beer after the elephant-headed god Ganesh.

Wishbone Brewery said the deity was chosen “in all innocence” and would not be used again following complaints by religious leaders.

“We would never, ever want to upset any faith or anything like that in the naming of any of our beers,” said head brewer Adrian Chapman.

It follows criticism of Tollgate Brewery in the East Midlands for naming one of its Indian pale ales after the goddess Kalika, also known as Kali.

Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, had earlier called on Wishbone Brewery to apologise.

He said Hindu gods should be “worshipped in temples” rather than “used in selling beer for mercantile greed”.

“Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agendas is not OK as it hurts the devotees”, Mr Zed added.

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“Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled.”

Wishbone’s Ganesh beer was described as a Wit-style lime-infused beer with flavours of coriander, grape and camomile.

Mr Chapman said the brewers also considered calling the drink “Indian Summer” and were unaware of any cultural appropriation.

“We try to pick interesting one-word names for the most part that aren’t used by other brewers,” he said.

“There’s one called Black Jesus by one brewer. Other brewers use the name of a deity in their beers so I obviously never thought anything bad about it.”

Wishbone, based in Keighley, west Yorkshire, previously named a black IPA beer Tartarus, who is the Greek god of the underworld.

The Ganesh beer, produced in collaboration with Manchester brewery Beer Nouveau, was part of a very limited run that was never bottled.

“The beer will be renamed should it ever be brewed again,” said Mr Chapman.

Mr Chapman said he would be happy to speak to Mr Zed to reassure him the name Ganesh was chosen “in all innocence”.

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