Asheville Brewing: we will not drop Shiva IPA

In a response to an announcement from a Nevada-based Hindu activist condemning Asheville Brewing’s Shiva IPA, co-owner Mike Rangel says the company has used the image sensitively after consulting with local and state Hindu leaders, and has no plans to drop the beer.

On Tuesday, Hindu activist Rajan Zed issued a release calling the beer’s name and imagery “highly inappropriate” and calling for its removal. Today, he issued a follow-up quoting other Nevada and California-based religious leaders also calling for the removal of the beer.

Rangel apologized for any offense caused, but called the incident “a tempest in a teapot,” noting that the name was chosen in 1998 as a homage to the strength and power represented by Shiva. The beer is the company’s top seller and has been featured in national media; Rangel says they will not stop its production or rename it.

“The last thing we want to do is appear like we’re taking advantage of a religion or anything like that,” Rangel says. “In the last two days we’ve also been contacted by locals who are Hindu. They are very supportive and feel like it’s much ado about nothing.”

He added that last year, representatives of the brewery met with leaders from the Hindu temple in Canton and the Hindu Society of North Carolina to talk about the use of Shiva’s image on the beer.

“They had a concern about it, not really a complaint, they wanted to talk,” Rangel tells Xpress. “We explained why we had chosen that name. They understood, and they understood why, after 16 years, we couldn’t change it. They asked that we refrain from t-shirts with Shiva with girls in a hot tub or riding a Harley. So we’ve used the exact same logo. They were ok with us using that…it was a really, really good meeting.”

This isn’t the first time Zed’s gone after a beer for using Hindu symbolism. This year he also he condemned an Australian company in very similar terms for using Hindu deities on its labels. The brewery apologized and said it would look at redesigning the labels.

Rangel says Zed has made no attempt to discuss his concerns with Asheville Brewing and “if he had contacted us first, we could have explained.”


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4 thoughts on “Asheville Brewing: we will not drop Shiva IPA

  1. boatrocker

    Good on you, Asheville Brewing. While not my favorite beer of yours, keep on cranking it out.

    Perhaps this flash in the pan reflects society’s growing sense of emotional entitlement i.e. the need to feel safe and warm and fuzzy all the time and waltz through life never feeling uncomfortable with others’ opinions.

    No, I’m not a PC freak, and heavens no I’m not a far right looney hate-speech monger either. Mtn X certainly gets its fair share or people who write letters about being offended by stories about local meat, true news stories of Orthodox Jews who get busted for drugs and breweries who brew local beer with a fictional character on the label.

    The phrase thin skinned still comes to mind.Is this what some mean when they say everyone gets a trophy?

    Perhaps Mtn. X could run a special story on the bumper crop of offended people out there? It could be called “News of the Whine”.

    I personally was offended on so many levels by a guy demanding Asheville Brewing’s discontinuation of said beer without ever having visited here to sample it or even contact them directly.

    More importantly I’m offended by his choice of last name. (“Zed” is how Canadians pronounce the letter “Z”)- and the band Rush really offends me- especially that song with the extended drum solo.

  2. *Diuvei

    It’s easy to claim others are “thin-skinned” till it hits home with you. How about “Jehovah Gin”? “Mandela Malt Liquor”?

    If Asheville Brewing truly wants to be respectful of religion while continuing to profit from it, the fair and non-exploitative thing to do would be to devote a percentage of profits from Shiva Pale Ale sales to a reputable Saivite Hindu charity.

  3. boatrocker

    I agree with you 100% Diuvei- it is very easy to call someone thin skinned for their reaction to said beer’s name. Watch, I’ll do it again- people are being thin skinned about this.

    And yet again I bring up the idea of emotional entitlement. Again I’ll ask where the Hindu outrage was when Oppenheimer quoted from the Bhagavad Gita before the US nuked Japan.

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