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May Wilkerson May Wilkerson

American Brewery Enrages Indians With Gandhi Beer Brand

A Connecticut brewery apologizes for branding "Gandhi-Bot" beer with the Indian leader's name and face, but keeps on selling it.

5 Substance

How Americans show homage. Photo via

How Americans show homage. Photo via

A Connecticut-based brewery apparently meant nothing but respect when they released ”Gandhi-bot” beer with the iconic Indian leader’s image on the can. But the move didn’t go over so well in India, where Gandhi is revered as a hero of independence (not of beer).

Gandhi-Bot is New England Brewing Company’s most popular beer, an India Pale Ale which bills itself as an “ideal aid for self-purification and the seeking of truth and love.” But a lawyer in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad filed a petition alleging that the beer is an “insult” to Gandhi, “condemnable” and punishable under Indian laws (though the company does not sell beer internationally so it’s unclear how the company would have been punished).

Regardless, the brewery has since issued an apology. ”We do apologize if the good people of India find our Gandhi-Bot label offensive,” said head brewer, Matt Westfall. ”Our intent is not to offend anyone but rather pay homage and celebrate a great man who we respect greatly.”

Westfall went on to say that he had hoped the product would inspire people “to learn more about Mahatma Gandhi and his non-violent methods of civil disobedience. So many Indian people here in American love our tribute to the great man.” He also claimed that two of Gandhi’s grandchildren “have seen the label and have expressed their admiration” (not confirmed).

There has been no apparent move to stop selling the beer.

Gandhi, who led non-violent resistance to British rule in India in the early 20th century, once made a vow to abstain from alcohol, meat and sex. He also spoke out against the use of alcohol taxes to pay for education.

Would he have been honored or outraged to have his face and name on a beer can? I guess we’ll never know.