US brewery angers Wiccan community with Witch’s Wit label

Friday, October 29, 2010

WASHINGTON - A beer distributor in California has landed in hot water after angering the Wiccan community with an ale called Witch’s Wit, whose label depicts a woman being burned at the stake.

Witch’s Wit is one of Port Brewing Company’s Lost Abbey beers, which the distributor calls “inspired beers for saints and sinners alike”, and each sports a label that aims to tell a story about the struggle between good and evil.

But Vicki Noble, a famed healer, astrologer and spiritual leader in the pagan community, was put off by it after a worker in a liquor store called the bottle to her attention.

Incensed at the image of a witch being burned at the stake, Noble sent an e-mail to her followers, asking in the subject line: “Can we stop this brewer from their hate imagery?”

“Can you imagine them showing a black person being lynched or a Jewish person going to the oven?” Fox News quoted her as asking.

“Such images are simply not tolerated in our society anymore (thank the Goddess) and this one should not be, either,” she stated.

Tomme Arthur, Port Brewing’s director of brewery operations, said all Lost Abbey beers, including Witch’s Wit, deal with religious irony and feature both original artwork on the front and a written story on the back.

“What I was looking at was this notion that there was a lot of people in the 16th century who would have been sent to a horrific death for potentially committing no crime, and that’s what she represents, this woman, this girl…. My notion of this woman is that she’s innocent, but we don’t know what she did,” he stated.

He said, the beer was brewed to honour the woman in the image, and the back label was written to play off of the guilt in the crowd.

Cynthia Eller, associate professor of women’s studies and religious studies at Montclair State University in New Jersey, said the label was just plain offensive, and that changing it would be a “win-win” for the company. (ANI)

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