HINDU god Ganesh isn’t the first figure you would equate with drinking pale ale.
But Spain’s brewers association (ACCE) has stirred outrage by plastering the elephant-headed deity – beer-making ingredients in hand and hops atop his head – across advertising for IPA Day 2020.
The event, to be held in Burgos on September 19, has been accused by the Universal Society of Hinduism of trivialising the deity by linking his image to the alcoholic beverage.
Ganesh is a highly revered figure in Hinduism and is meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines.
Worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles, Hindus pray to Ganesh before any major undertaking.
“Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously,” said Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism.
“Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled.”
“We apologise, from the heart,” responded ACCE. “We never wanted to hurt any religious worship and we will recall all the IPA Day advertisements and will stop using this religious image from now to the future.”
Zed thanked the ACCE for their apology and suggested companies should send their senior members for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they understand the feelings of communities and customers when launching advertising campaigns or introducing new products.