New York breweries discontinue Aqua Shiva beer after Hindu protests

Two New York breweries have apologized and swiftly discontinued a “highly inappropriate” collaboration beer named after a Hindu deity.

Pressure Drop Brewing and Big Ditch Brewing Company joined forces to launch a hazy 8.5% abv NEIPA called Aqua Shiva.

The Hindu community reacted with alarm and protested against the decision to place the image of Lord Shiva on a beer can and beer taps.

Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, spearheaded the protest. He said that companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.

Matt Kahn, president and co-founder Big Ditch Brewing Company, said in a letter to Zed: “We very recently became aware that our collaborative beer, Aqua Shiva, was offensive to Hindus.We deeply apologize to the Hindu community for this poor choice of our beer name and artwork.

“We simply did not put enough time into thinking about this beer name and artwork and what the use of the name Shiva means to the Hindu community. This beer is discontinued and will never be made again. 

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention, as we will learn from it. Again, we deeply apologize to you and to the Hindu community. We meant no harm.”

Earlier this month, a Canadian brewery called Hell’s Basement called its New Zealand pale ale Huruhuru, thinking the Maori word meant feather. It actually meant public hair.

“We did not realise the potential to offend through our artistic interpretation, and given the response we will attempt to do better in the future,” said Hell’s Basement co-founder, Mike Patriquin.