Sydney, 18th Nov, 2013
It is good to hear, in black & white, that Brookvale Union Brewery [which has a Ginger Beer with 4% Alcohol, and used an offensive imagery of Hindu deities on its Label] has;
1. recognised the offence caused to Indians and Hindus with the imagery on their Ginger Beer,
2. decided to rectify the mistake,
3. asked it graphic designers to redesign the imagery without using images which are deemed offensive,
4. advised the commencement of the process to redesign an alternative label and marketing material,
5. apologised for the distress caused by the offensive imagery.
Full Press Release from the Brewery:
“BROOKVALE UNION ADDRESSES CRITICISM OVER CONTROVERSIAL PRODUCT AND INVITES DESIGNERS TO CREATE NEW GINGER BEER LABEL:
Here at Brookvale Union, we take pride in …producing great tasting drinks and we think we’ve nailed that on the head with our alcoholic Ginger Beer and Apple Cider. However, it seems we have unintentionally offended our Hindu friends with the imagery on our Ginger Beer packaging and because we’re lovers, not fighters, we want to make it right. Brookvale Union is asking graphic designers, artists, and even doodlers who think they can rise up to the challenge to put pen on paper and better the existing design. Take inspiration from wherever you want, you just have to adhere to the following brief: – Ensure your submission aligns with the Brookvale Union brand – refer to the website, existing Apple Cider and Ginger Beer bottles and cartons, Facebook and Instagram pages for inspiration – To the best of the designers’ knowledge, do not use imagery that may be deemed offensive – Keep our tagline of ‘Quality Nonsense’ in mind Submissions will be accepted until 5pm on Sunday, 24 November and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The chosen design will become part of the new branding for the Brookvale Union range and featured on bottles, packaging and marketing material. We’ve received feedback from many Hindu’s over the last few days – some find the label offensive, others do not. Nevertheless, it was not our intention to offend a group of people. Brookvale Union is about great tasting, fun beverages and not about disrespecting anyone or their beliefs. We have subsequently apologised for any distress caused and begun the process of removing the images from the website. We are now focused on redesigning the Ginger Beer which hopefully all can be happy with! Brookvale Union. Complex yet simple, safe but dangerous, smooth yet sharp, tight but loose, clever but not always right. For more information or any questions, please contact email@example.com”
A concerted and organised protest was launched by Indian Australians and their groups/associations throughout Australia and even Overseas.
A “Well done” and thanks are due to many Indian Australians, Indian Australian Association of NSW, Hindu Council of Australia and Sikh Council of Australia for their active role in it.
We need to be vigilant for any such inappropriate use of our religious symbols in future too, and work together in an organised fashion to redress any mistake.
Australia is a true multicultural country and every religious, racial and ethnic group is entitled to enjoy its beliefs and celebrate its heritage, without anyone ridiculing or making fun of their values, religion, religious symbols and deities, and religious activities, provided such activities or beliefs are within the core values of modern Australia.
Dr Yadu Singh