How hard is it not to offend someone with booze? Surely the universally loved social lubricant and catalyst for almost every hookup or confessional bathroom conversation ever, would be impossible to turn into an insult.
You'd think so, but alcohol purveyors have made a pretty good go at offending people with their products of late. Earlier this week, there was the German man who thought it was a great idea to display "Hitler wine" in his bar and now, a brewery in Belgium has managed to insult a major world religion with an Indian pale ale.
The offending drink is the Jack's Precious IPA, made by The Musketeers Brewery in Flanders. Described as having a "pleasant lingering bitterness," the beer features an image of the Hindu deity Lord Ganesh, also recognised by Buddhists and Jains, on its label. He is depicted holding a chef's knife and a sausage, and also wears a hat bearing the brewery's trademark.
Unsurprisingly, many Hindus weren't best pleased with the image of one of their most revered deities—worshipped as the remover of obstacles and manifestation of intellect and wisdom—being used to hawk beer. Yesterday, Hindu cleric Rajan Zed released a statement urging The Musketeers Brewery to withdraw the beer, saying that Ganesh is "meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed."
Zed also took to Twitter to brand the beer "highly inappropriate."
The Musketeers Brewery, however, claims that the beer was not meant to be representative of Ganesh. A spokesperson told The Publican's Morning Advertiser that they wished to apologise to any Hindus who had been offended, but that "instead of insulting [Ganesh], it was actually an ode to the Indian elephant as a symbol."
They went on to explain that inspiration behind the beer's label comes not from the deity, but a tale involving an Indian elephant called Jack, who was killed at Belgium's Ghent zoo and turned into sausages. Right.
They explained: "It's a true story and the beer was an ode to him. Ganesh as a symbol represents the Indian elephant and that's why we chose it, it was never to offend them."
The Musketeers Brewery added that it had not heard directly from any offended parties but was eager to begin communications. The spokesperson said: "We would like them to contact us. Then we will see what happens."
Let's hope they can all work it out together over a pint—maybe not a pale ale, though.