The IPA getting attention for all the wrong reasons


A US brewer has been the target of complaints that it has abused the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, the independence leader who saw and end to British rule in India.

At the centre of this furore is the New England Brewing Company’s double hopped Indian pale ale, called Gandhi-Bot. The beer can label depicts the iconic Indian leader — who wasn”t the biggest fan of alcohol — as some sort of automaton-like robot figure. A complaint filed in an Indian court said that the label was “condemnable”, according to the BBC.

This has prompted the brewer to apologise in a statement to the Press Trust of India.

“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,” said Matt Westfall of New England Brewing Company.


The idea behind the beer, he said, was “to learn more about Mahatma Gandhi and his non-violent methods of civil disobedience. So many Indian people here in American love our tribute to the great man.”

It echoes a similar controversy that took place in 2013 when a small Sydney brewer depicted two Hindu deities, Ganesh and Lakshmi, on the label of their ginger beer. Rajan Zed, of the Universal Society of Hinduism, told Fairfax Media at the time that “Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi are highly revered in Hinduism and they were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed,” and the incident gained international coverage.

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