[Ed. note: Burnside Brewing has not yet responded to a request for comment. A similar situation happened this past summer when Funkwerks branded a beer after the Māori King. The company later changed the branding.]
Upset Hindus have urged Portland-based Burnside Brewing Company not to release its “Kali-Ma” beer proposed for May 15, calling it inappropriate.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that Goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and she was meant to be worshipped in temples and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Rajan Zed argued.
According to an announcement, Burnside Brewing is releasing “Kali-Ma” on Tuesday, May 15. “Kali-Ma, is inspired by the Hindu goddess… Kali-Ma the beer is an Imperial wheat ale or wheat wine made with toasted cardamom, fenugreek, and cumin spices added in addition to almost 400 pounds of apricot. Fermented with a Belgian ale yeast harvested from Upright Brewing. We then dry hop it with 8 pounds of scotch bonnet and native India dandicut peppers.” “Come worship ‘the black one’ Kali as the ultimate reality or Brahman this Tuesday!” It shows the picture of goddess with four arms and three severed heads. Jason McAdam is the brew-master at the Company which is also organizing Annual Portland Fruit Beer Festival on June 9-10.
Goddess Kali, who personifies Sakti or divine energy, is widely worshipped in Hinduism. She is considered the goddess of time and change. Some Bengali poets described her as supreme deity. Moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.