Hindu activist condemns Asheville Brewing’s Shiva beer

Announcement from Hindu activist Rajan Zed:

Upset Hindus have urged Asheville (North Carolina) based Asheville Brewing Co. to apologize and withdraw its Indian Pale Ale beer carrying image of Lord Shiva, calling it highly inappropriate.

This beer, named as “Shiva”, displays the image of Hindu Lord Shiva in Nataraja form.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada 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 Lord Shiva was highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines 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.

In Hinduism, Lord Shiva, along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, forms the great triad of Hindu deities. Moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

Asheville Brewing, launched in 1995, offers three locations in Asheville; which besides brewery, also includes restaurants and Dine-In Theater; and distributes its beers in stores and restaurants in Western North Carolina. It claims to have been voted BEST in WNC for the 15 years and awarded as “Best place for a date”. Besides “Shiva” beer, it also makes jalapeno infused “Fire Escape” and a “Red Light” beer which it calls “irresistibly wicked beer that’s at once temptingly sweet and scandalously bitter, with a full body…”

It describes Shiva beer as “crisp, citrusy” and adds “Your palette will be lifted to higher planes of consciousness”. It is also available in 12 ounce cans and 22ounce bottles. On its online store, it also sells “Shiva Hoodie”, which features its Shiva beer logo on the back and “Om” symbol on the hood; besides a “Mens Shiva Shirt”.


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14 thoughts on “Hindu activist condemns Asheville Brewing’s Shiva beer

  1. bsummers

    I’m not an adherent to Hinduism, but I have to admit that I have avoided even trying Shiva IPA because of this issue. It’s a little odd to use a religious deity to sell beer.

    Asheville Brewing ought to consider doing the right thing & phasing this brew out. If it didn’t occur to them that anyone would be offended, well, now they know otherwise.

    • Jason W

      The Shiva is probably ABC’s most popular beer. I doubt they will phase it out.

      Granted nobody will probably convert to Hinduism after drinking a pint of the beer, but is it possible that the name celebrates, and exposes people to another culture they might not have previous knowledge of?

  2. Dionysis

    I understand the concern, but it’s like fighting a raging tsunami. Everything, including every formerly revered holiday, has been subverted to the only real deity (it seems)this country really cares about: the great God of Commerce!

  3. Justin

    Well I’ve personally never bought a Shiva because of the name, but instead for the beer itself. This type of argument could be said of so many other brands, beer and otherwise, I don’t know where you’d stop… Plus I can’t help but wonder what else Mr Rajan Zed would be better off focusing so much energy on.

  4. Ken Hanke

    At least it keeps this guy from spamming me with what movie to boycott every few days.

  5. boatrocker

    Ohhh, namaste.

    I’m so offended about that whole Hindu
    caste system that existed for many millennium, or
    pre-British Empire.

    You know, that whole Indian slavery system that oppressed others according to which family they they born under. Untouchables, etc.?

    And now you speak up about beer?

    Not that the British Empire treated India any better for 400-ish years.

    Dionysis (the poster) said it best – All ficticious gods now bow to the altar of moola-aka money-aka-power-aka-influence-aka-free market capitalism.

    At least that renegade Jew Jesus kicked over the tables for the Phillistines selling cheap Old Testament Wal-Mart stuff in anger.

    Mtn. X. posts amuse me for the level of whiny offense.

    Gandhi was lawyerly educated via European standards of equality (aka the Age of Enlightenment), unless I’m wrong.

    Thomas Paine, Ho Chi Minh, Nelson Mandela, oh never mind.

    P.S. where were the Hindus when Oppenheimer quoted the Bhagavad-Gita for nuking Japan?

  6. boatrocker

    Oh wait…. for re-reading the last paragraph of your original letter I get it now.

    It’s a shameless plug for the beer and you get a free yoga mat if your Shiva beer card is stamped 10x.

    In that case, never mind my next response about that awful musical guy named after the famous Indian building. Taj something was his name? That is soooo cultural appropriation!

  7. mtndow

    Shiva The Great Destroyer. It’s great beer. Who said “Zed” gets to make the rules? Welcome to Asheville. We embrace the untouchable as well.

  8. Big Al

    If any product other than beer had used (abused?) the name of Shiva (or any other non-Judeo-Christain deity), all of Asheville’s touchy-feely hipsters would join Zed on the bandwagon to tar & feather and run the evil capitalists out on a rail (in a peaceful, non-violent way, of course).

    But since it is a popular beer, well…nothing to see here. Everyone go back to the bar.

    Hipster Hypocrisy is alive and well in Beer City, USA.

  9. Deodat Arjune

    i am a proud hindu from Guyana, South America. I am totally upset with this company or any commercial entity to name an alcohol beverage Shiva. This is very unethical and has no respect for hinduism.


    Om Namah Shiva.

  10. Tom Williams

    All religions are a myth unless it is yours. At any given point, someone is offended in this world by others, based upon what they believe to be authentic and real. Personally I am offended that NASA named a rocket after the deity Apollo and that the calendar doesn’t list he first day of week in honor of Thor, instead of the fourth day.

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