US brewery apologises for Gandhi image on beer cans

Washington: US company, the New England Brewing Company has apologised for using Gandhi’s image on beer cans and bottles, after a petition was filed in a Hyderabad court alleging that it had insulted the father of the nation.

Mahatma Gandhi - Father of the Nation
Mahatma Gandhi – Father of the Nation

The Connecticut-based New England Brewing Company even claimed that its intention was to pay homage and celebrate the apostle of peace and that Gandhi’s granddaughter and grandson have expressed their admiration for the label.

The beverage brand is called ‘Gandhi-Bot’, which the company says is an intensely hopped double India pale with a blend of three varieties of American Hops.

An advocate Sunkari Janardhan Goud has filed a petition before XI Metropolitan Magistrate, Cyberabad, contending that Gandhi’s image on the beverage cans and description of the father of the nation by the brewery is highly condemnable and punishable under Indian laws.

The petition submitted that it amounts to offences under Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, and 124-A of Indian Penal Code (related to us inflammatory words, signs or visible representation).

The petition is slated to come up for hearing on Monday. However, Matt Westfall, head brewer and partner at the New England Brewing Company, said the company apologises if the sentiments of Indian people have been hurt.

Gandhi-Bot is a double Indian pale ale beer
Gandhi-Bot is a double Indian pale ale beer

“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. “We take great care in creating a product we hope will not be abused in the manner that Mahatma Gandhi spoke of when referencing the beverage,” Westfall said in an e-mail response to PTI.

On its website the company says Gandhi-Bot is aromatic and fully vegetarian, and an ideal aid for self-purification and the seeking of truth and love.

The company’s products are not sold internationally.

Inputs with PTI