The American brewery that announced it is soon going to launch a beer called 'Kali-Ma' has apologized and postponed its release and has said that it would rename their product following protests by Hindu groups.
Not long ago the Oregon based brewing company enthusiastically announced in a press release: "Burnside Brewing is excited to finally release the highly anticipated beer 'Kali-Ma' in 150 very limited 1ltr Magnum sized swing top bottles and on draft on Tuesday May 15th at their pub.
Kali-Ma, is inspired by the Hindu goddess and her tribute in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The name Kali comes from kala, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Kali-Ma the beer is an Imperial wheat ale or wheat wine made with toasted cardamom, fenugreek, and cumin spices added in addition to almost 400 pounds of apricot. Fermented with a Belgian ale yeast harvested from Upright Brewing. We then dry hop it with 8 pounds of scotch bonnet and native India dandicut peppers... Come worship "the black one" Kali as the ultimate reality or Brahman this Tuesday!"
Hindus were naturally upset to have one of their favourite Goddesses as a beer label. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that Goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and she was meant to be worshiped in temples and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed. Goddess Kali, who personifies Shakti or divine energy, is widely worshipped in Hinduism. She is considered the goddess of time and change, and Bengali poets described her as the Supreme Deity.
After Hindus protested, Burnside was quick to retract. In an announcement published on their Facebook page, the company said:
"...In response to pleas from the Hindu community we have decided to postpone the limited release of "Kali-ma" our imperial wheat ale flavored with Indian spices and Scotch-Bonnet peppers. It is never our intention at Burnside to offend or alienate any race, creed, religion or sexual orientation. The inspiration for the beer label simply came from a favorite childhood movie in the "Indiana Jones" series and we were unaware that it could be offensive to anyone. We are currently scrambling to re-name the beer and intend to release it soon afterwards... to anyone we have offended we sincerely apologize... Sincerely, the crew and ownership of Burnside Brewing."
It also tweeted an apologia cancelling the launch (see screenshot)
In 2010, in a similar move, another US company Archie McPhee launched mints branded as Curry Flavored Kali Mints that feature Goddess Kali on top of its round tin lid with a mint pellet on her tongue. Hindus protested but the company was adamant.
Are you offended to see Goddess Kali on beer bottles? Is it a condonable or a culpable act? Please post a comment and have your say!