• Sunday, June 26, 2022

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Nottingham brewery ready to work on design after Kali Yuga beer stirs controversy

Representative Image. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

By: Sattwik Biswal

CRAFT BREWERS Bang the Elephant Brewing Co said they are ready to work with those concerned after a US-based Hindu organisation termed the use of Hindu goddess Kali’s image on its beer can “highly inappropriate”.

The brewery in Langley Mill, near Nottingham, also added that they “wholeheartedly apologise” for any offence they have caused, but emphasised that they have been conscious about the “respectful nature of this beer and artwork” right from their preliminary discussions with the artist for the pack design.

“We would like to offer our sincerest apologies for any offence this has caused the international Hindu community. We can state quite categorically that it absolutely was not our intention to cause offence, or to ‘hurt the devotees’ of the Hindu religion in any way,” said Nigel Patton and Michael Shipman, founders of the company.

The Universal Society of Hinduism, an organisation based in Nevada, US, has earlier demanded an apology from the brewery, saying that inappropriate usage of sacred Hindu deities or concepts or symbols or icons for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.

“Breweries should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply trivializing of immensely venerated Hindu goddess Kali to be portrayed on a beer label,” Rajan Zed, president of the organistion, said.

Bang the Elephant Brewing Co said the beer will remain part of their core range but invited Zed and his organisation to work with them on possible changes to the design.

“Kali Yuga will continue to be part of our core range, but we are more than happy to work with Mr Zed and the people of the Universal Society of Hinduism in terms of discussing possible alternatives or alterations to future artwork for the beer that would be deemed more ‘appropriate’,” Patton and Shipman said.

Patton and Shipman noted that the beer has been part of their core range of beers for three years now, along with sister beer Odissi, and there has been “no comment or hint of offence” to the Hindu community previously.

Explaining their rationale behind the design, they said: “We are a brewery yes. We make beer yes. But before we ever made beer, we made ‘Bang’ – The Elephant: the main character at the forefront of our brand. We set out to tell the story of ‘Bang’ and his journey through our beers and the accompanying artwork, with each of our core beers being significant to a different part of his journey.

“Kali Yuga – East India Porter is part of a ying and yang element to the story of Bang and is the sister beer of Odissi – East India Pale Ale. This light vs dark aspect was in our thoughts from very early on and we felt that Kali Yuga: The Age of Darkness was representative of this particular point in the story and journey of Bang.”

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