The American beer company has apologised to people of India for producing a beer it has named after the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi and printing his images on their beer cans.
New England Brewing Company placed images of Gandhi on the labels of a beer it has called Gandhi-Bot, prompting anger and complaints from Indian groups who said that the marketing ploy trivialised Gandhi’s principles and belittled the Indo-American community and Indians in general.
In a statement Rajan Zed, chairperson of Indo-American Leadership Confederation, said that Gandhi “abhorred drinking. Selling beer named after him was highly damaging to his legacy and hurt the feelings of Indo-Americans and Indians.”
On New England Brewing Company’s website, the craft brewer writes: “Gandhi-Bot is an intensely hopped double India pale ale with a blend of three varieties of American Hops. Aromatic and fully vegetarian, Gandhi-Bot is an ideal aid for self-purification and the seeking of truth and love.”
In response to the complaints, Matt Westfall, head brewer and partner at firm said in an email to the Press Trust of India news agency: “We do apologise if the good people of India find our Gandhi-Bot label offensive. Our intent is not to offend anyone but rather pay homage and celebrate a great man who we respect greatly.”
The firm, which uses the tagline “Drink it. It’s good”, has not said it will withdraw the beer from sale.