Amsterdam brewery apologizes & removes Lord Ganesh image within a day of Hindu protest

Amsterdam (The Netherlands) based Friekens Brewery (Friekens Brouwerij) apologized and removed Hindu deity Lord Ganesh’s image, associated with its “I.P.A (India Pale Ale)” beer, from its website, within a day of Hindu protest calling it “highly inappropriate”.

Friekens Brewery, in an email to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, wrote: “We would like to apologise for the use of the image of Ganesh on the label of our I.P.A. beer. We never meant to offend anyone. Our apology. All reference to Ganesh and his image have been removed from our website, and we will develop a new brand identity for our I.P.A.”

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked Friekens Brewery for understanding the concerns of Hindu community which thought image of Lord Ganesh on such a product was highly insensitive.

Rajan Zed 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.

Zed had earlier said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.

Rajan Zed had indicated that Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer. Moreover, linking a deity with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful, Zed added.

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, Zed had noted.

It was deeply trivializing of immensely venerated Hindu deity Lord Ganesh to be portrayed on a beer label with what appeared to be a hop-flower (primarily used in making beer) in one hand and a bottle in another hand, and his vahana (mount) mouse drinking from a bottle; Rajan Zed had stated.

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

Friekens Brewery had described its I.P.A. (ALC. 6,6% VOL) beer as: This Nectar of the Gods is an almost transcendental apparition of intense taste experience…Beer that Ganesh, the sympathetic Hindu deity with the elephant head, looks down upon in inebriated benevolence!… Not a beer for the faint of heart.

Friekens Brewery, whose tagline is “Tasty beer, brewed with love”, claims to have been brewing specialty beers for years. Sid Benson is reportedly the brewer.