USA: Breweries apologize for Hindu themed beer

Two breweries based in Buffalo, New York, have stopped brewing a beer named Aqua Shiva and have apologized after learning that the name and label may be offensive to people of the Hindu faith.

Big Ditch Brewing, established in 2014 and Pressure Drop Brewing established in 2017 and which are both located in Buffalo, New York, had already collaborated in the past on a series of “deity” themed beers with names like Aqua Jesus and Aqua Buddha and had never experienced major adverse reactions.

When Aqua Shiva was released in July, Pressure Drop Brewing posted a message on instagram saying: “In the spirit of fun and collaboration, this year's aqua deity beer created with @bigditchbrewing is Aqua Shiva! We decided this as Shiva is the god of destruction and recreation. And we figured what themes better fit 2020??”

However, Aqua Shiva came to the attention of a Nevada-based Hindu activist named Rajan Zed, who already urged other companies to rename or drop products with Hindu names. In July, it became known, that he contacted AB InBev to rename their popular Brahma beer brand which is sold since 1888 and is one of the biggest beer brands in Brazil. The beer allegedly denigrates Lord Brahma, the god of creation in Hinduism (, 15.7.2020).

While AB InBev refused to rename its beer, stating that the beer was named in tribute to Joseph Bramah - an Englishman who invented the draft pump valve - and not for the Hindu deity, the two Buffalo breweries immediately stopped the production of Aqua Shiva.

“We very recently became aware that our collaborative beer, Aqua Shiva, was offensive to Hindus,” said Matt Kahn, President & Co-Founder of Big Ditch Brewing Company, in a joint response email to Rajan Zed. “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… "

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