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Brewery to rename Gandhi-Bot beer following complaints

January 23, 2015

HARTFORD, Connecticut (AP) — A U.S. brewery will no longer use the name and likeness of Mohandas Gandhi on one of its beers following complaints that the marketing was offensive, a state lawmaker said Friday.

The label on New England Brewing Co.’s Gandhi-Bot India pale ale has a cartoon image depicting a robot version of the late Indian leader, who favored prohibition. The Connecticut-based company apologized earlier this month to anyone who found it insensitive.

In a statement, the brewery said it decided to rebrand the beer following meetings with Indian-American business owners, temple leaders and state officials, including state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan. The statement was posted on Srinivasan’s website.

“After careful consideration we feel that renaming Gandhi-Bot is the right move,” the brewery said in the statement. “Taking these steps will allow us to express our support for the Indian-American community while also limiting any economic losses.”

Srinivasan, who is from India, said he is glad the brewery heard the concerns of the Indian-American community.

“Our sensitivity on this important issue has been addressed and I am looking forward to the early release of their renamed and rebranded product,” he said.

The Gandhi-Bot beer, which had been distributed for about five years, was promoted on the brewery’s website as “fully vegetarian” and “an ideal aid for self-purification and the seeking of truth and love.”

New England Brewing’s head brewer did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. The company said in a statement that the beer itself will remain the same.

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