Upset Hindus have urged Asheville (North Carolina, USA) based Asheville Brewing Co. to apologize and withdraw its Indian Pale Ale beer carrying image of Lord Shiva, calling it highly inappropriate. This beer, named as "Shiva", displays the image of Hindu Lord Shiva in Nataraja form.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that Lord Shiva was highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed.
In Hinduism, Lord Shiva, along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, forms the great triad of Hindu deities. Moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Asheville Brewing, launched in 1995, offers three locations in Asheville; which besides brewery, also includes restaurants and Dine-In Theater; and distributes its beers in stores and restaurants in Western North Carolina. It claims to have been voted BEST in WNC for the 15 years and awarded as "Best place for a date". Besides "Shiva" beer, it also makes jalapeno infused "Fire Escape" and a "Red Light" beer which it calls "irresistibly wicked beer that's at once temptingly sweet and scandalously bitter, with a full body..."
It describes Shiva beer as "crisp, citrusy" and adds "Your palette will be lifted to higher planes of consciousness". It is also available in 12 ounce cans and 22ounce bottles. On its online store, it also sells "Shiva Hoodie", which features its Shiva beer logo on the back and "Om" symbol on the hood; besides a "Mens Shiva Shirt".
Asheville, incorporated in 1797, which was once a part of the Cherokee Nation, has been ranked as one of the "Top Seven Places to Live in the U.S." and has reigned the champion "Beer City USA" each year from 2009 to 2012. It boasts of largest private residence in USA in The Biltmore House and Hollywood star Charlton Heston was once a theater manager here. Terry M. Bellamy is the Mayor of Asheville, whose logo is "Quality of Service, Quality of Life".
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Rajan Zed argued.