New Brussels Beer Project beer raises hackles in New Zealand

A beer developed by the Brussels Beer project in 2015 has caused a controversy in New Zealand.

The reason is the name of the beer – Māori Tears – which has caused anger among representatives of indigenous people, who described the name as “culturally and spiritually offensive,” the New Zealand Herald reports.

The brewery said the “Māori Tears” beer aims to “encapsulate those tears to capture their sacred nature”.

However a Māori advocate, Karaitiana Taiuru, told the newspaper, “The idea of drinking someone else’s tears is spiritually offensive to a traditional Māori world view.” “It would breach the sacredness rule in New Zealand if applying for a trademark. What are Māori tears? Does it symbolise that the brewer takes pride in thinking of Māori who are crying, or perhaps stereotyping that Māori are sad and drink to be happy?”

Meanwhile in Brussels, the Beer Project explained that the beer had been an experiment, brewed in a limited quantity of only 800 bottles. The name was derived from the use of a New Zealand hop, and the word “tears” intended to represent the subtlety of the pale ale, co-founder Olivier De Brauwere said.

The company issued a statement in which it apologised to “those who felt offended with our Māori Tears beer. It was brewed one time in 2015 in 800 bottles. There was no intention to offend the Māori culture, on the contrary. We are sad to have provoked such feelings,” the statement said. None of the bottles was ever exported to New Zealand.

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