Derbyshire brewery to change artwork of Hindu goddess on beer can following criticism from Hindu community

A Derbyshire brewery has apologised, following criticism for using artwork on one of their beer cans that depicts a Hindu goddess.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 4:06 pm

Bang the Elephant Brewing Co based in Langley Mill in the Amber Valley used an image to represent Hindu goddess Kali on their Kali Yuga East India Porter beer.

In Hinduism, Kali who personifies Sakti or divine energy, is considered the goddess of time and change.

While the company who said they have sold the beer featuring this design for three years without a “hint of offence”, they have since apologised after Hindu statesman Rajan Zed labelled the artwork “highly inappropriate”.

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A picture of the Kali Yuga East India Porter beer sold by Bang the Elephant Brewing Company in Langley Mill, Amber Valley.

In an email, he said the brewery offered their “sincerest apologies for any offence” caused to the “international Hindu community” and offered to work with Mr Zed to alter the image on the beer can.

The President of Universal Society of Hinduism thanked Bang the Elephant for “understanding the concerns of Hindu community” which he said thought using an image depicting the Hindu goddess was “insensitive”.

Mr Zed suggested that companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity and said “inappropriate” usage of sacred Hindu deities, concepts or symbols for a commercial or other agenda “hurt” the faith’s followers.

In a statement posted to Facebook on Monday, August 9, Nigel Patton and Michael Shipman from Bang the Elephant wrote: “Kali Yuga has been part of our core range of beers for three years now and there has been no comment or hint of offence to the Hindu Community previously, but obviously this is something that we do not take lightly, and we would like to go on record as saying that we wholeheartedly apologise for any offence we have caused.

“Kali Yuga will continue to be part of our core range, but we are more than happy to work with Mr Zed and the people of the Universal Society of Hinduism in terms of discussing possible alternatives or alterations to future artwork for the beer that would be deemed more "appropriate".”

Since then, the Langley Mill based brewery which first launched in 2017 have written to Mr Zed, reaffirming their willingness to work with him and the Universal Society of Hinduism to alter future releases of this beer.

Bang the Elephant has asked Mr Zed if there are other members of the Universal Society of Hinduism that they can contact to try and get a better understanding of how they have mishandled a symbol of faith.

They added: “Whilst we obviously value and respect the comments of a revered and well respected man such as yourself, we are trying to educate ourselves in this matter so that we do not make the same mistakes again.

“We plan to reach out to the Hindu community as a whole so that we can make more informed decisions on such sensitive matters moving forward.”

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