Eudora Brewing Co. is apologizing to the Hindu community for using an image of Lord Ganesh to promote its Samsara Imperial Rye IPA.
The Dayton brewery also said it will remove the image from the beer label.
The Universal Society of Hinduism, headquartered in Reno, Nev., issued a statement to the media Tuesday morning (April 9) along with a copy of the label, saying Eudora's use of Lord Ganesh, the elephant god also known as Ganesha, is disrespectful.
"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," President Rajan Zed said in a news release.
Eudora founder Neil Chabut issued a lengthy statement Tuesday saying he woke up to the complaint from the group.
"Our first response is one of apology to the Hindu community, especially our neighbors in Dayton, for any hurt we may have caused," he wrote. "Upon approving the design of this beer, our intent was not one of frivolity or marginalization. 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 judgement. We appreciate the opportunity to be called into the important conversation of how we, as members of the craft beer community and as citizens of the world, can be more inclusive in all aspects of our business. 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. 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. Our goal, as always, remains to 'brew goodness' both in our beer and in our community. We can be reached directly at email@example.com with ideas or to set up an opportunity for dialogue and education."
It's not the first time that the Universal Society of Hinduism has objected to a Hindu deity being used by craft brewers. The Springfield Brewing Co. in Springfield, Mo., Old Salem Brewing Co. in Salem, Va., Tollgate Brewery in England and others have faced similar criticism from the organization.