US brewer sorry; says it’s renaming ‘Kali-Ma’ beer

Washington: A US brewer says it is ‘scrambling’ to rename its new beer ‘Kali-ma’, after the Hindu goddess Kali, following an outpouring of criticism from Hindus with the issue being raised in the Indian parliament.

The label of the beer made by Burnside Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon, featured the four-armed goddess Kali standing among three severed heads.

“In response to pleas from the Hindu community we have decided to postpone the limited release of ‘Kali-ma’ our imperial wheat ale flavoured with Indian spices and Scotch-Bonnet peppers,” the company said in a statement on its Facebook page.

“It is NEVER our intention at Burnside to offend or alienate any race, creed, religion or sexual orientation,” the company said.

Burnside Brewing owners said they got the idea from the movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, where Jones is forced to drink a potion called “the black sleep of Kali Ma” that puts him into a trance.

“The inspiration for the beer label simply came from a favourite childhood movie in the ‘Indiana Jones’ series and we were unaware that it could be offensive to anyone.”

The brewer said it was “currently scrambling to re-name the beer and intend to release it soon afterwards”.

“To those who have been patiently waiting, we humbly ask that you wait just a little longer and to anyone we have offended we sincerely apologise,” it said.

The issue was raised in India’s upper house Tuesday with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanding that the government immediately summon the US ambassador as the religious feelings of Hindus were being hurt.

BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government claims good relations with the US… Is there no manufacturing code there.”

“Can they show the God of any other faith like this.”

The BJP member asked the government to “summon the American ambassador” immediately.

Responding to the demand, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said he would “inform the external affairs minister (S.M. Krishna) immediately”.