Microbrewery ‘meant no offence’ by beer named after Hindu god

A microbrewery has said it meant no offence when it named a beer after Hindu god of wisdom Ganesh.

Wishbone Brewery in Keighley was asked to apologise by a Hindu leader who called the name “highly inappropriate” and hurtful to followers of the religion.

But head brewer Adrian Chapman on Friday said he would never knowingly select an offensive name and promised to rename the beer if it is ever brewed again.

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

The comments came after Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Wishbone to apologise and stop making the beer.

Mr Zed said the deity Ganesh, who has the head of an elephant, is revered in Hinduism as the remover of obstacles and the god of wisdom, and 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”, he said in a statement.

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

Wishbone’s Ganesh is a Wit-style lime-infused beer with flavours of coriander and chamomile, and Mr Chapman said the brewers also considered calling it “Indian Summer”.

“It was a very vague spice connection,” he said about the name Ganesh, adding he was 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 other brewers had named beers after gods and deities before.

“There’s one called Black Jesus by one brewer,” Mr Chapman said, referring to a black IPA made by Great Heck Brewery in North Yorkshire.

“Other brewers use the name of a deity in their beers so I obviously never thought anything bad about it.”

Wishbone previously named a black IPA beer Tartarus, who is the Greek god of the underworld.

Ganesh was a collaboration with Manchester brewery Beer Nouveau and they only produced a very limited run that was never bottled.

“The exposure for that beer is so small,” Mr Chapman said.

“The beer will be renamed should it ever be brewed again.”

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

Earlier this year, Mr Zed urged another UK brewer Tollgate Brewery to apologise for a beer that featured an image of the Hindu goddess Kalika on the label.

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