A Virginia brewing company apologized for a beer that shares the same name as a Hindu deity after some called it "high insensitive."
Olde Salem Brewing Company said it was just making a musical reference. Their website touts its Spanish milk stout named "Hanuman" as an adult beverage meant to evoke "flamenco on the radio," after a decade-old song bearing the same name by Rodrigo y Gabriela that was dedicated to Carlos Santana.
Rajan Zed, the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, called their ignorance "disrespectful," noting that Hanuman is a Hindu monkey-god known for his strength and meant to be worshiped in Hindu temples, not to be used for selling an alcoholic drink.
The brewing company, founded in 2017, apologized "if this inadvertent association has offended anyone" adding they had no idea about the connection to the Indian religion.
"When naming our Spanish milk stout 'Hanuman' we were unaware of the Hindu deity referenced by Rajan Zed," Olde Salem Brewing Company owner Sean Turk wrote a statement. "This name was purely a musical reference and had no other intent. We are reviewing options to address the situation."
Zed believes that companies should send their senior executives for religious and cultural sensitivity training to avoid situations like this.
The brewing company located at the heart of Salem's historic main street district is "to make thoughtfully crafted beer worth sharing and enjoying with others." Every beer is crafted in-house "with full-flavored and innovative tastes."
The beer at the center of the Hindu controversy is listed under the "dark and dangerous" category on tap.
"Hanuman, our take on a milk stout, uses a variety of roasted malts combined with lactose to produce a sweet base beer reminiscent of milk chocolate," the company's website reads." With the flavors of Natillas de Leche on the mind and flamenco on the radio, we decided to add vanilla, cinnamon, and dried peppers to come up with a uniquely wonderful stout."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.