Photo: The Lost Abbey
Recently, Wiccan astrologist and "healer" Vicki Noble was strolling through a beer aisle when she stumbled upon a bottle of Lost Abbey Witch's Wit. She had no issue with the wheat beer, spiced with grapefruit zest, orange peel and coriander. Instead, the illustrated label enflamed her: It featured a witch being burned at the stake.
Aghast, Noble headed home and shot off an irate email. "Can you imagine them showing a black person being lynched or a Jewish person going to the oven?" she wrote to her email list. "Such images are simply not tolerated in our society anymore (thank the Goddess) and this one should not be, either."
In these knee-jerk times, what came next should be no surprise: complaints flooded the brewery, accusing Port Brewing Company (Lost Abbey is a division) of "inspiring violence against women. . . . We have been compared to the violence in Darfur," brewery spokesman Sage Osterfeld told The New York Times.
The outcry will force the brewery to spend thousands of dollars to change the label. More importantly, in this writer's opinion, this sets a terrible precedent for other occult-themed beers. What's next, impish bogeyman protesting Wychwood Brewery's Hobgoblin brown ale? The devil rising up from the fiery depths to complain about Great Divide's Belgian-style Hades Ale and Unibroue's Maudite strong ale, whose label proudly features Satan? And what about Pumpkinhead? Think that vengeful demon is pleased to be on the label for Shipyard's Pumpkinhead ale?
If these ne'er-do-wells indulge their litigious ways, sipping a beer on Halloween will never again be the same.