Scottish brewery apologises for Ganesha packaging on beer after Hindu protest

A Scottish brewery that upset Hindus with the use of its imagery of the deity Ganesha has apologised for the packaging after it was deemed 'highly inappropriate'. 

Published 30th Nov 2018
Updated 2 nd Dec 2018

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, said in a statement that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees and urged Galashiels based brewing company Tempest Brewing Co. to change the packaging on their India Pils beer.

In an email written to Mr Zed in response to his request Gavin Meiklejohn, founder & director of the brewery, wrote: "We would like to offer our apologies to yourself and the wider Hindu community… we will remove all written references to Ganesha from our marketing of this beer and will look to change the artwork before its next release.”

Mr Zed thanked Tempest Brewing Co. for their prompt response and for understanding the concerns of Hindu community. He then suggested that companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.

A description of the beer on the brewery's website reads: "Channel your inner Ganesha and overcome all obstacles with our hoppy pilsner. With a crisp, fruity hop flavour and great drinkability, you’ll be at peace in no time. Namaste!”

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in "selling beer for mercantile greed".

Moreover, he added that linking Lord Ganesha with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful.

In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.

Rajan Zed stated: "Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled."

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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