Hindus call on Italian brewery to withdraw ‘highly inappropriate’ Ganesh beer

The president of the Universal Society of Hinduism is calling on Italian brewery Baffo to discontinue its Ganesh beer and issue an apology, calling the brew “highly inappropriate”.

Baffo’s Ganesh beer.

Baffo’s Ganesh IPA carries an image of the multi-armed Hindu deity Ganesha holding a beer mug, a beer bottle, barley and what appears to be a hop cone.

In a statement, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, said that the “inappropriate usage of Hindu deities, concepts or symbols for commercial or other agendas” was unacceptable as it would “hurt the devotees”.

Zed added that linking an alcoholic beverage with a Hindu deity was “very disrespectful”.

Ganesha, traditionally depicted as having multiple arms and a human body with the head of an elephant, is the Hindu god of wisdom and is known as the ‘remover of obstacles’.

Baffo describes its 5.8% IPA as a double malt amber-coloured craft beer brewed in the English IPA style.

It recommends pairing the beer with cheese, fried chicken or fish and chips. According to the brewery, the beer also works well with grilled meat, spicy food and cold cuts.

Baffo was founded in 2015 by head brewer Vincenzo Barilà. Barilà was a student at the Centro di Eccellenza e Ricerca sulla Birra (Centre of Excellence and Research in Beer – CERB) at the University of Perugia.

As well as Baffo Brewery, this month Zed is also pressurising Mexican brewery 8-Bit Brewers to remove its Cerveza Premium IPA Ganesh beer bottle and Texan brewery New Braunfels Brewing Co. to discontinue its Shiva’s Tears beer.

The Hindu society president has a track record of calling out the actions of brewers. A search on his website brings up fifteen complaints to brewers using the search term ‘beer’.

Examples include The Musketeers Brewery in Flanders which Zed urged to withdraw its Jack’s Precious IPA which featured an image of Ganesha on the label in September 2016.

In February 2014, he urged AB InBev to change the name of its “Brahma” beer calling it “highly inappropriate” as it shares its name with a Hindu deity.

In November 2013, he also called for the removal of labels featuring Ganesha on Sydney-based Brookvale Brewery’s alcoholic ginger beer. The brewery subsequently complied with his wishes. 

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