Image credit: Cheshire Brewhouse
Congleton-based microbrewery Cheshire Brewhouse has apologised for any offence caused, and agreed to remove the sacred ‘Om’ symbol from its packaging, after Hindus protested, calling it “highly inappropriate”.
Shane Swindells, owner of Cheshire Brewhouse, wrote in an email to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed (who spearheaded the protest): “I now understand the offence caused by using the ‘Om’ on our labels, and will therefore remove this from our beer labels on all future runs.
“Please accept my humble apology, not offence was ever intended.”
Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, thanked Shane for his willingness to listen to the concerns of the community he represents.
Zed suggested that companies may consider adopting training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they have an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or producing advertising campaigns.
Inappropriate use of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other purposes is hurtful to devotees, Zed asserted.
The mystical syllable ‘Om’ is used to introduce and conclude religious work in Hinduism.
Considered to be the most powerful mantra, placing it on a beer-bottle is to trivialise it according to those who believe in its force.
Swindells told So Cheshire: “We intend to move forwards without upsetting anyone’s religious beliefs.”
It’s also worth noting that Cheshire Brewhouse is far from the only organisation to have been been criticised by Rajan Zed.
A quick Google search reveals a plethora of organisations across the globe which the religious statesman has grappled with on a number of topics.
“Mr Zed seems to have a track record of making mountains out of molehills,” added Shane.
“A simple email or phone call direct from him would have sufficed.”