Kettering brewery ceases using ‘very disrespectful’ label after Hindu organization protests

Eudora Brewing Company apologized this morning for a "lapse in judgment" and agreed to remove a label from its beer portfolio after the Nevada-based Universal Society of Hinduism expressed outrage over its use of an image of a Hindu deity on the label.

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Rajan Zed, president of the Reno, Nevada-based organization, called the Eudora Samsara Imperial Rye IPA label that he said portrays Hindu deity Lord Ganesh “highly inappropriate.”

Lord Ganesh “was highly revered in Hinduism, and he was meant to be worshiped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer,” Zed said in a release. “Moreover, linking a deity with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful.”

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“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 on his head and one hand, rye bunch in another hand, and mash brewing paddles on other two hands,” Zed said. In Hinduism, Lord Ganesh is worshiped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking, the organization’s president wrote.

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In a release this morning from Eudora founder and owner Neil Chabut and the brewery’s staff, the brewery said:

“Our first response is one of apology to the Hindu community, especially our neighbors in Dayton, for any hurt we may have caused. Upon approving the design of this beer, our intent was not one of frivolity or marginalization.”

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“As a brewery, we strive to create a welcoming environment for all guests who walk through our doors or encounter our beers in public. We aim to be responsible, growth-minded members of the craft beer community. We realize now that there was a much wider audience that needed to be considered in regards to this design, and all designs, and apologize for our lapse in judgment.”

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“We will be removing the existing Samsara label from our portfolio and have already begun the process of designing a new label void of any usage of Hindu deities, concepts or symbols,” Chabut and the brewery staff said. “Furthermore, we welcome any and all opportunities to continue this conversation on how we can continue to create a more inclusive environment at Eudora and in the Dayton beer industry.”

Reached via email, Rajan Zed said he was pleased with Eudora’s response.

“We thank Eudora Brewing Company and owner Neil Chabut for understanding the concerns of Hindu community,” Zed said.

Zed said he did not contact the brewery first before emailing his objections to the media, but instead, sent messages to both simultaneously. “Neil emailed back with an apology within few hours,” he said.

Zed, who describes himself in the release as a “Hindu statesman,” said the Universal Society of Hinduism “is not a membership organization yet,” and said it “takes up issues globally.”

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